Stomach Cancer

Every year 13,000 men and 8,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer. The cancer usually begins in the cells of the inner layers of the stomach and sometimes spread deeply into the stomach wall. Stomach cancer mostly affects the elderly — two-thirds of those who have it are over the age of 65. It can be difficult to diagnose in its early stages, so it is often diagnosed late.

Cancer of the stomach, also called gastric cancer, can be difficult to detect before it has spread. Often, there are no symptoms in the early stages. When symptoms do occur, they may include the following:

  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Discomfort or pain in the abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Bloating of the stomach after meals
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Bleeding, including vomiting blood or having blood in the stool
Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.