Metastatic stomach cancer is a malignancy that originated in the stomach and has spread to other areas of the body. Most commonly, stomach cancer that has reached this advanced stage has spread to the liver, peritoneum (abdominal lining), lungs or bones. The cancer cells found in these areas are identical to those that developed in the stomach; therefore, it is still considered stomach cancer rather than a separate cancer that formed in another part of the body.
How do I know if I have metastatic stomach cancer?
When stomach cancer has metastasized to other areas of the body, there are often a number of noticeable symptoms. Individuals may experience:
- Stomach pain or discomfort
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Loss of appetite
- A feeling of fullness after a small meal
- Difficulty swallowing
- Unexpected weight loss
- Bloody stool
Additional symptoms may appear depending on where the cancer has spread. For example, if the liver is affected, jaundice may occur. Or, if the lungs are affected, shortness of breath may be another symptom. Because all of these symptoms can also be caused by other, more common conditions, a physician’s diagnosis is necessary to determine if metastatic stomach cancer is the cause of your symptoms.
What should I do if I’ve been diagnosed with metastatic stomach cancer?
If you’ve been diagnosed with metastatic stomach cancer, the next step is to learn about your treatment options. Stomach cancer treatment may involve surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of treatments. The precise approach that is right for you will depend on many individual factors, including your general health, the size and location of your tumors and any previous treatments you have received. Therefore, it is important to seek treatment from a cancer center that takes an individualized approach to stomach cancer treatment, such as Moffitt Cancer Center. Our multispecialty team collaborates in regular tumor board meetings, and each patient receives an individualized treatment plan tailored to his or her unique needs.