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What are the symptoms of stomach and oesophageal cancers?

Stomach and oesophageal cancers may not cause symptoms in their early stages. This means that they are usually diagnosed when the cancer is more advanced. Common symptoms are listed below. These symptoms can also occur in many other conditions and do not necessarily mean that you have cancer. Speak with your general practitioner (GP) if you are concerned.

  • unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite
  • difficulty swallowing
  • indigestion – e.g. pain or burning sensation in the abdomen (heartburn), frequent burping, reflux
  • persistent nausea and/or vomiting with no apparent cause
  • abdominal (stomach) pain
  • sense of fullness, even after a small meal
  • swelling of the abdomen or feeling bloated
  • unexplained tiredness, which may be due to anaemia
  • vomit containing blood
  • black-coloured or bloody stools
  • difficulty swallowing
  • new or worsening heartburn or reflux
  • food or fluids “catching” in the throat or episodes of choking when swallowing
  • pain when swallowing
  • unexplained weight loss or loss of appetite
  • development of discomfort in the upper abdomen, especially when eating
  • persistent unexplained tiredness
  • vomiting blood
  • black-coloured or bloody stools