Many symptoms of stomach cancer are similar to less serious conditions, so it can be difficult to recognise in the early stages.
Early stage symptoms include:
- persistent indigestion
- trapped wind and frequent burping
- feeling full very quickly when eating
- feeling bloated after eating
- feeling sick
- pain in your stomach or breastbone
- difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- vomiting (the vomit may be streaked with blood), although this is uncommon in the early stages
Advanced stomach cancer
Symptoms of more advanced stomach cancer include:
When to seek medical help
Stomach cancer is usually easier to treat if it's diagnosed early. It's therefore important for your GP to refer you to a specialist as soon as possible if stomach cancer is suspected.
Stomach cancer is much more common in older people, with 90 out of 100 cases occurring in people aged over 55.
Indigestion is a very common symptom in the general population. However, it's unlikely that someone with indigestion who's under the age of 55 will have stomach cancer.
However, see your GP if you have indigestion and weight loss, anaemia or persistent vomiting. They should refer you to a specialist for further testing.
Also see your GP if you have difficulty swallowing. This isn't a common symptom among the general population and the cause should always be investigated.
Read more about diagnosing stomach cancer.
Cancer Research UK has more information about being referred to a stomach cancer specialist.
Page last reviewed: 20 August 2018
Next review due: 20 August 2021