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Stomach Cancer

When you eat, your food travels from your mouth to your esophagus to your stomach, a small pouch where juices break food down before it enters your small intestine. Cancer that develops in the stomach usually starts in its inner lining.

Stomach cancer: what you should know

  • Most people who develop stomach cancer are older than 70.
  • In addition to age, other risk factors for stomach cancer include the following:
    • Infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)
    • Smoking
    • Family history of stomach cancer
  • Most people with these risk factors will not develop stomach cancer.
  • In addition to not smoking, eating a diet that includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables may decrease your risk of developing cancer. 

How can I get help for stomach cancer?

Stomach cancer can be hard to detect because in many cases it does not cause symptoms in its early stages. But in it may cause some of the following symptoms, especially in its later stages:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or lumps in the abdomen
  • Blood in your stool or vomit
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Bloating or feeling full after eating only a small amount of food
  • Stomach pain

Most of the time, having these symptoms doesn’t mean you have stomach cancer. Many other conditions have similar symptoms. See a doctor if you have any of these symptoms and it doesn’t go away.

If you are diagnosed with stomach cancer, your doctor will likely refer to you a specialist in gastrointestinal cancers who can confirm the diagnosis and determine the stage and extent of the disease.