Stomach or gastric cancer develops in the inner lining of the stomach. This type of cancer typically grows at a slower rate than other forms, and it is easy to overlook the relatively mild symptoms in the early stages. This includes when a person is suffering with a bout of acid reflux which many may put down to a case of a food type that didn’t agree with them. However, acid reflux is one of the lesser-known symptoms of stomach cancer and should be carefully monitored.
Indigestion is a general term that describes discomfort felt in the upper abdomen.
Any type of irritation or inflammation in the area of the stomach can cause this symptom.
Although it can be a symptom of stomach cancer, in most cases, indigestion is not indicative of a serious condition and can be treated with over-the-counter medications.
It is not unusual for people to experience mild indigestion after eating a big meal or eating too fast.
However, anyone experiencing repeated indigestion with acid reflux should speak to a doctor.
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What is reflux?
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), gastroesophageal reflux, or GER, occurs when the sphincter becomes weak and allows the stomach contents to come back up.
The result of this becomes a tell-tale burning sensation in the middle of the chest.
When someone experiences heartburn on the regular, it can become a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
In addition to causing heartburn, GERD also often presents a sensation of regurgitation, which is the sense of liquid material moving from the stomach up through the throat.
These symptoms frequently occur after eating, said Dr Jeffrey Alexander, professor of medicine, and the head of the Esophageal Clinic at the Mayo Clinic.
He added: “If the symptoms are up in your chest and they go away with acid-blocking drugs then that’s probably reflux.”
Symptoms of advanced stomach cancer can include vomiting, stomach pain, weakness, frequent burping, jaundice, fluid build-up in the abdomen, and trouble swallowing.
Another common symptom of stomach cancer is blood in bowel movements.
When the stomach or its lining bleeds, the fluid may collect with the rest of the body’s waste.
Stool with blood in it can appear almost black in colour.
While there are other causes of both dark stool and bloody stool, any significant changes to bowel movements should be medically investigated.