Stomach cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancers. The disease has a poor prognosis. Life expectancy for a patient diagnosed with stomach cancer is usually 6 months. That is because the early symptoms of stomach cancer are often very vague and sometimes non-existent. By the time symptoms do appear the cancer has already metastasized and spread to other organs.

One in a million people under age 55 seeking treatment for indigestion are diagnosed with stomach cancer. One in 50 of all ages experiencing excess burping and gas (indigestion) are diagnosed with stomach cancer. Don't just assume that excess burping and gas is a result of what you ate. Especially if those symptoms continue for more than two weeks.

If you change your diet, eliminating foods that cause excess gas, and you're still burping and passing gas, it's time to see a doctor. Popping Rolaids and Tums for more than two weeks (and you haven't seen a doctor) is an indication of a more serious problem.

The bacteria H. Pylori is thought to be the main risk factor in 60-85% stomach cancers and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease, or excess stomach acid entering the esophagus and causing erosion and pain). If you test positive for H. Pylori, doctors will prescribe a course of antibiotics.

The symptoms of stomach cancer are very vague or nonexistent in the early stages. Symptoms include:


  • Indigestion or a burning sensation (heartburn)
  • Loss of appetite, especially for meat
  • Excess burping and/or flatulence (passing gas)


  • Abdominal pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen, pain radiating to the back
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Bloating of the stomach after meals
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Bleeding (vomiting blood or having blood in the stool), which can lead to anemia
  • Black tarry (sticky) stools

Stomach cancer is diagnosed by passing a slender tube fitted with a camera into your mouth and down your esophagus. This procedure is called an endoscopy. Biopsies will be taken of any tumors found during the endoscopy to check for the presence of cancer cells.

The doctor will also take a series of x-rays called an Upper GI Series which requires you to drink a white, chalky substance called barium so the lesions or abnormalities in your show up better on x-rays.

Treatment for stomach cancer depends on the stage of the disease, the patient's age and general health, and the size, location and extent of the tumors. Treatment includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

As always, please consult your physician or other qualified health provider for more information. This has been your Medical Minute.

More info on the web

Stomach Cancer - Mayo Clinic

Stomach Cancer - Medline Plus

Stomach Cancer - WebMD

  • LovelyLady

    I almost throw up my breakfast, you couldve stated warning

  • LadyJustice



    UGH!!!!! Glad I ate early this morning.

  • sharnell

    Sandra, thanks for addressing this issue. I have had all the testing, symptoms, and diagnosis that you have outlined. At one point they had me on 5 separate medications over the past 6 years. Recently, I have started having problems again and now I have been consistently vomiting with no explanation for the past 3 weeks. They cannot find anything medically wrong with me, they have now chopped it up to stress. I have been fearing that they will tell me I have stomach cancer! Fam pray with me.

  • Mika79

    Yummy...time for breakfast!

  • LadyJustice

    sharnell im praying for you

  • KaraZ

    Sharnell, it is well, keep praying and thinking positive they will find out what's wrong and by God's grace it won't be stomach cancer.

  • SunnyPA

    Sharnell, I will keep you in my prayers as well. Stay on top of it even if the doctors tell you there's nothing wrong.

    They kept telling me I had irritable bowel syndrome, even after tests. Later, I had a twisted intestine and had to have surgery. Now, I'm told that I have what's called Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome.

    Also, my daughter's ovarian cancer went undetected for almost a year because of a couple of seriously lazy doctors who overlooked symptoms that should have been obvious to them in the latter months (the tumor grew to the size of a baby's head).

    So, do what you have to do to find an answer and ... and stay prayful. One of my favorite TV shows is Mystery Diagnosis.

  • SunnyPA

    Oops "to find an answer and stay healthy ..."

  • anti-PC

    Auntie, thanks for the info.

    Didn't the girl that played Myra Monkhouse on 'Family Matters' die from stomach cancer? So sad.

  • SunnyPA

    Why anyone would want government to get involved in our healthcare is beyond me. It hard enough trying to find health solutions. Given all the goverment bureaucracy, we'd die if it's something urgent and life-threatening.

  • Daisy

    Doesn't the govt rune medicare medicaid already and don't they handle military healthcare and the prez congress women senators and can't u still keep the same private ins as well just asking and for the record I don't like all aspect of the prez healthcare plan BUT I feel everybody shld have access to healthcare n medical access

  • LadyJustice

    yea he said we can still keep our private insurance. and yes the govt does run tricare, medicare and medicare.

  • miamore73

    The expression on my face changed dramatically. I went from that beautiful morning wood to this mess.

  • miamore73

    I have to say that I don't like the fact that this healthcare issue is something that the country doesn't get to vote on. It's a huge issue that involves us not the people in office.

    I think there should be a choice unless you don't have healthcare.

  • Daisy

    @mia u have a choice this plan is only for ppl who don't have ins. Also I wouldn't mind if the public could vote but that is not how this country works I want to vote on taxes and education and other policys that also affect me but I can't.

  • Certified

    This is sooo true and a sooo real for me. I lost my Aunt to this disease and I know of 2 others. @sharnell You are indeed in my prayers…

  • SunnyPA

    Two questions:

    how's medicare/medicaid working for you?

    Who has actually read the healthcare bill to know exactly what's in it?

    Then again, if you believed all those Obama campaign promises .... well, that says it right there.

  • sharnell

    Thanks, Fam. This is why the SR fam is the greatest. We luv u Auntie!