Cancer is a potentially deadly disease that occurs when abnormal cells grow and divide in an uncontrolled way. They can then spread to surrounding tissues and organs.
There are more than 200 kinds of cancer that can affect the human body. And with any kind of cancer, the earlier you can spot the signs, the sooner you can seek the appropriate treatment.
However, this can be difficult when the symptoms are associated with other health issues.
This is the case with stomach cancer, a disease which affects around 6,500 people in the UK every year. People living with the disease might experience symptoms more commonly linked to digestive disorders.
One expert shared some vital signs of stomach cancer to look out for.
Doctor Jen Caudle, from the US, took to social media platform TikTok to talk about the disease following the death of country music star Toby Keith, who was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2021.
“Toby Keith has passed away from stomach cancer,” she said.
“We also call it gastric cancer and I wanted to take this opportunity to talk a little bit about some of the signs and symptoms of stomach cancer.
“It’s not always a cancer that we hear about or, you know, it’s. It happens, obviously, but it’s not, say, the most common cancer.”
She warned that most of the symptoms don’t occur until the disease is more advanced.
“I do want to say that many of these symptoms I’m about to mention tend to happen maybe when the cancer is a bit more advanced,” Dr Caudle explained.
She revealed eight symptoms that can happen “as time goes on”:
- Trouble swallowing
- Abdominal pain
- Feeling bloated or uncomfortable after eating
- Feeling full
- Not feeling hungry the way you think you should feel hungry
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Black stools
She added: “Or other stomach symptoms like nausea, vomiting, losing weight without trying are always symptoms that we doctors are concerned about it being cancer.
“Any cancer can, and many cancers cause, weight loss – unintentional weight loss, so that’s always a warning sign.”
However, she emphasised how signs might not appear until the later stages of the disease.
“Keep in mind, though, you know, this again, many of the symptoms I mentioned are later symptoms,” she said.
“Stomach cancer doesn’t always cause symptoms in the early stages so please sort of keep that in mind.”
If you notice any unusual symptoms you should always get them checked out.
Dr Caudle concluded: “The big message here is that if you have any symptoms at all – abdominal pain, ingestion, things that are just not usual for you, make sure that you get checked out.”
The NHS advises seeing your GP if you have:
- Problems swallowing
- A lump in your tummy
- Lost a noticeable amount of weight
- Other symptoms of stomach cancer that get worse or do not get better after three weeks
- A condition that causes symptoms with your digestion that are not getting better after three weeks of using your usual treatments.