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Can Stomach Cancer Go Undetected?
Stomach cancer often goes undetected for many years. This is in large part because stomach cancer and the resulting symptoms tend to develop slowly, therefore failing to alert the individual that there may be an issue. Another reason why stomach cancer frequently goes undetected is that early-stage stomach cancer symptoms can also be caused by less serious conditions like constipation or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or even by something as simple as eating spicy or fatty foods. These early-stage stomach cancer symptoms include:
- Stomach pain or discomfort
- A bloated feeling after eating
- Loss of appetite
Once stomach cancer progresses to its later stages, it starts producing more severe symptoms that tend to be more of a cause for concern. These late-stage stomach cancer symptoms include:
- Vomiting blood
- Bloody stool
- Unexplained weight loss
Stomach cancer risk factors
Although scientists are still in the process of determining exactly what causes stomach cancer, they’ve identified several risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing this malignancy. One of the most significant risk factors is the presence of a Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, and others include having type A blood, having a certain medical condition (such as achlorhydria, long-term stomach inflammation, pernicious anemia or stomach polyps) and having a certain genetic disorder (such as familial adenomatous polyposis, hereditary diffuse gastric cancer or Lynch syndrome). Because stomach cancer can go undetected for so long, if you have any of the risk factors for this malignancy, it’s important to pay particular attention to any stomach-related abnormalities.
Stomach cancer diagnosis & treatment at Moffitt
If you’re concerned that you might have stomach cancer, you can entrust your care to the experts at Moffitt Cancer Center. The specialists in our Gastrointestinal Oncology Program—which include surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, gastroenterologists, rehabilitation therapists and supportive care specialists—work together to diagnose malignancies and develop comprehensive treatment plans.