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Stomach cancer – symptoms and treatment options

Stomach cancer – symptoms and treatment options

The uncontrolled growth of cells in any one region of the body can turn into tumors. This growth, at times, turns malignant. These malignant growths are a sign of the occurrence of cancer. Similarly, gastric cancer or stomach cancer is characterised by the presence of malignant growth in the stomach. Here, we will be discussing some common symptoms of stomach cancer and treatment options for the same.

Symptoms can serve as a useful tool in the diagnosis of a disease and its subsequent treatment. If noticed early, these symptoms can even facilitate treatment before the disease progresses. Symptoms often vary from person to person, at different stages of the disease. Here are some common symptoms experienced in the initial stages of stomach cancer:

  • Increased burping
  • Bloating after meals
  • Constant indigestion
  • Stomach ache
  • Aching breastbone
  • Heartburn
  • Vomiting that may or may not be accompanied by blood

Don’t panic if you experience any of the above symptoms, as they can also be associated with other less severe health ailments. It is best to consult a healthcare professional, seek their advice, and get a medical diagnosis done. It is also important to understand that treating a disease early is easier and allows it less time to cause harm, instead of putting it off to a later date and letting it intensify. Those who are already at risk of developing gastric cancer should especially keep an eye out for these symptoms and see a doctor immediately if they experience any. Some symptoms that can be seen in the advanced stages of stomach cancer are:

  • Dark stools with blood
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of weight
  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Fluid build-up in the stomach

Now that we have acquainted ourselves with the symptoms of stomach cancer, it is time to learn about the tests involved in the diagnosis of the condition. If a doctor thinks that the patient exhibits symptoms of stomach cancer, then they might run a few tests. These tests are performed after the doctor has received complete information of the patient’s medical condition and history, and at times, even the family history. These tests can be coupled with the following diagnostic procedures:


Endoscopy involves the use of an endoscope, a tool that is used to examine internal organs. This is done by inserting a thin tube into the body. In an endoscopic procedure, the doctor passes the tube through an oral cavity. This also involves the collection of biopsy samples if needed.

CT scan

A computed tomography (CT) scan is done to obtain better quality films of the internals as compared to an X-ray. It also enables viewing from various angles. Some CT scan procedures include the use of dye injections for the purpose of obtaining clearer images.

Barium swallow

As the name suggests, this diagnostic procedure requires the person undergoing tests to swallow a barium solution. Barium efficiently highlights the internal linings of the esophagus and stomach for examination. This helps identify the presence of abnormal growths and various other problems.

Following the diagnosis, the doctor will be able to draw a treatment plan for the patient. Treatment options for stomach cancer typically involve radiation, chemotherapy, medications, surgery, and immunotherapy. Often, patients are advised to go for a combination of treatment options, depending on the nature and stage of the cancer.

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