Stomach cancer

Stomach cancer

what to look out for

The early symptoms of stomach cancer can be vague and easy to mistake for other less serious conditions.

They include:

  • You have difficulty swallowing.
  • You’ve recently lost weight without trying.
  • Regular heartburn or indigestion that you didn’t get before.
  • Feeling full after eating small amounts.
  • Constantly feeling bloated after you eat.
  • Pain or discomfort in your stomach that’s new or getting worse.
  • Nausea or vomiting.

Having one or more of these doesn’t mean you have cancer but if you notice any symptoms that are unusual for you or that won't go away, you should visit your doctor.

A specialists view

The signs and symptoms of stomach cancer can often be confused with other conditions and so make it difficult to diagnose.

It is important that you contact your GP practice if you notice any unusual or persistent changes in your health including difficulty swallowing, persistent heartburn or new or worsening pain in your stomach.

Only once you take the first step in seeking help can specialists across Scotland like myself, help answer your questions and make you better. Stomach cancer can be successfully treated but the earlier we get you into safe hands, the better.

Sami M Shimi, Consultant Upper GI Surgeon, NHS Tayside

Getting Checked – what’s involved?

Some people put off getting checked because they think they might be wasting their doctor’s time. But if you’ve noticed any unusual changes in your health, or if you have any of the possible signs of cancer, your doctor will want to know.

Here’s what you can expect at your appointment:

  • You might have your blood pressure, heart rate and temperature checked. Your doctor may also listen to your chest.
  • You might need to give a sample of urine or a sample of poo.
  • Depending on your symptoms, a general examination may be carried out.
  • Your doctor may feel your tummy for any areas that might be tender or swollen.
  • They may want to get some blood tests done.

After that they may refer you to the hospital for more tests or to see a specialist.


  1. Around 600 cases of stomach cancer are diagnosed every year in Scotland.
  2. Incidence rates in stomach cancer have decreased by 33.7% in the last 10 years.
  3. Stomach cancer is more common in people over 50 years old.
  4. Earlier diagnosis of stomach cancer improves chances of survival.

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Further help