Stomach cancer symptoms and risk factors
There are often no symptoms of stomach cancer, particularly in the early stages. However, if there are symptoms, depending on where the cancer is, they may include:
- unexpected fatigue or weakness
- nausea and vomiting
- blood in vomit
- loss of appetite
- low iron levels
- abdominal pain or discomfort
- unexplained weight loss
- black stools.
It is best to see your doctor for review and investigation if you experience unexplained symptoms that worry you. They will ask you questions to help understand whether the cause of symptoms are stomach cancer or another condition.
Stomach cancer risk factors
A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing cancer. Although risk factors often influence the development of cancer, most do not directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do. Knowing your risk factors and talking about them with your doctor may help you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices.
Risk factors for stomach cancer include:
- smoking tobacco
- diet low in fresh fruit and vegetables
- alcohol consumption
- family history of gastrointestinal cancers
- medical conditions such as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), chronic gastritis, gastric polyps, Helicobacter pylori infection
- inheriting a genetic mutation that causes the bowel disorders familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC).
- pernicious anaemia (low red blood cells)
- partial gastrectomy for ulcer disease.
> How stomach cancer is diagnosed