General surgeon Dr Kevin El-Hayek recognises that early stomach cancer symptoms can easily be overlooked. In addition, the warning signs could be confused with gastrointestinal disorders. Here’s one thing to look out for in the toilet.
When rushing off to the bathroom, do have a look down the toilet bowel before flushing – it could be the clue you need that something isn’t right.
If there’s blood in your faeces, this could be a sign of stomach cancer.
There are various types of stomach cancer, pointed out by Macmillan Cancer Support.
More than nine in 10 cases of stomach cancer are adenocarcinoma, which begins in the glandular cells of the stomach lining.
Far less common stomach cancers are soft tissue sarcomas, lymphomas and carcinoid tumours.
Live Science explained that the stomach is the fist stop in the digestive tract before food moves on to the small intestine.
The stomach is a bean-shaped sack located behind the lower ribs. Once food is inside, the stomach lining secretes hydrochloric acids and enzymes to break down food.
During this process, the stomach muscles contract (called peristalsis) to mix the food, acid and enzymes.
How does stomach cancer develop?
Stomach cancer is characterised by an uncontrollable growth of cancerous cells within the lining of the stomach.
The exact cause is unknown, but there are certain risk factors for developing the disease, such as smoking and diet.
In regards to smoking (whether that’s cigarettes, cigars or tobacco-infused sheesh), the longer a person smokes and the more they smoke, the greater the risk.
The risk of developing stomach cancer reduces as soon as you stomp out that last cigarette for good.
In terms of diet, Macmillan Cancer Support note that eating a lot of processed meats is risky.
Furthermore, eating foods that are smoked or pickled are said to increase a person’s risk of stomach cancer, as well as having too much salt in the diet.
Dr El-Hayek highlights common early signs of the disease: bloating, heartburn, nausea and a general feeling of discomfort.
These symptoms are very common in other gastrointestinal disorders, hence why Dr El-Hayek recommends looking out for the following signs.
“The most concerning symptom,” he began, is when “people no longer feel hungry and ultimately start losing weight without trying”.
You could also feel full, even though you’ve only managed to eat a tiny amount of food.
Another indication you may have stomach cancer is if you feel extremely fatigued without any other explanation.
Dr El-Hayek continued: “These are all signs that you should probably go see your primary care doctor to see if you warrant further testing.”
Although these signs could be the result of a much less harmful condition, it’s also advisable to get checked out sooner than later.
Should stomach cancer be detected, earlier treatment increases the possibility of a full recovery.
Treatment options can include surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy.