5 Early Warning Signs Of Gastric Cancer

Dr. Ashwin Rajagopal, Consultant – Surgical Oncology, Manipal Comprehensive Cancer Centre, Manipal Hospital Varthur Road, Whitefield

Understanding the Symptoms and Early Warning Signs

Bloating: A Warning Sign You Shouldn’t Ignore

One of the early warning signs of gastric cancer is bloating. If you experience a feeling of fullness or tightness around your belly and notice that your abdomen appears swollen, it could be a cause for concern. Gastric cancer leads to an overmultiplication of cells in the stomach lining, making the walls rigid and reducing their capacity to store food. This can cause an accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity, making your stomach look visibly larger. If you notice persistent bloating, it’s essential to seek medical attention promptly.

Heartburn: When It’s Not Just Indigestion

Experiencing heartburn after a meal or when lying down at night is a common occurrence. However, if your heartburn is not alleviated with over-the-counter medications and you also have an acidic taste in your mouth, it might be linked to gastric cancer. Acid reflux, a common symptom of stomach cancer, is often difficult to distinguish from regular heartburn. If your symptoms persist despite medication, it’s crucial to get evaluated by a healthcare professional.

Persistent Nausea and Projectile Vomiting: Red Flags

While nausea and vomiting can be attributed to various minor health issues, persistent and severe episodes may indicate gastric cancer. Projectile vomiting, in particular, should raise concerns, especially if accompanied by vomiting blood, which suggests an advanced stage of cancer. Though these symptoms can also be associated with other gastrointestinal problems, immediate medical attention is essential to rule out serious conditions.

Persistent Upper Abdominal Burning Pain: An Alarming Signal

Persistent upper abdominal burning pain after eating might be a sign of stomach cancer. The acidic contents from the stomach can flow back into the food pipe and cause damage, resulting in excruciating pain. If you experience this type of pain frequently, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional promptly for evaluation and diagnosis.

Passing Black Coloured Stools (Melena): A Cause for Concern

Damage to the mucosal layer of the stomach can lead to bleeding, resulting in black-colored stools, known as melena. This symptom indicates the severity of the condition and should not be ignored. While it may also be caused by minor gastrointestinal issues, it’s crucial to have it evaluated by a medical expert to rule out potential serious conditions like gastric cancer.

Gastric cancer can be challenging to diagnose due to its masked symptoms resembling common gastrointestinal disorders. If you experience any of the warning signs persistently, such as bloating, heartburn, persistent nausea, abdominal pain, or melena, seeking medical attention promptly is crucial. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to better outcomes. At Manipal Hospital Varthur Road, Whitefield, we offer comprehensive treatment options for stomach cancer, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy.

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