Stomach cancer can grow a long time before you notice any symptoms.

Stomach cancer can be hard to diagnose, because the early symptoms are a lot like symptoms of other illnesses. Or there may be no symptoms at all.

Symptoms of stomach cancer that you might feel earlier in its early stages include:

  • Pain or discomfort in your stomach
  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite

As stomach cancer grows, you might start to notice other symptoms, such as:

  • Blood in your stool, or dark-colored stools
  • Feeling bloated after eating
  • Vomiting after eating, especially if it contains blood
  • Weight loss you didn’t expect
  • Fatigue, weakness, or feeling out of breath

Any of these symptoms could be a sign of some other stomach problem that is not cancer. But if they happen a lot, if they are getting worse, or if you have a reason to think you could get stomach cancer, you should tell your doctor as soon as possible.

Learn about stomach cancer, who gets it, and how it is treated.

You’ll find various names for different forms of stomach cancer.
  • Adenocarcinoma is the most common kind of stomach cancer, accounting for 90 to 95 percent of all stomach cancers. These cancers form from the cells found in the innermost lining of the stomach.
  • Carcinoid tumors start in the hormone-making cells of the stomach.
  • Gastrointestinal stromal tumors are rare tumors that start in the early formation of cells in the stomach wall.
  • Lymphoma accounts for about 4 percent of the stomach cancers. These are cancers of the immune system tissue often found in the wall of the stomach.

 

People with certain illnesses have a higher chance of getting stomach cancer.

A risk factor is anything that makes it more likely that you’ll get a disease. If you have any of the risk factors for stomach cancer, that doesn’t mean you will get stomach cancer. But you may be more likely to get stomach cancer than the average person.

People who have ever been diagnosed with a Heliobacter pylori infection, sometimes called H. pylori, have an increased risk of stomach cancer. Another possible risk factor to note is gastrointestinal reflux disease, also called GERD.

People who have had stomach ulcers or inflammation of the stomach for a long time are also at risk.

Other stomach cancer risk factors include:

  • Being a man
  • Being over age 55
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Eating a lot of food that has been smoked, salted, or pickled
  • Having family members who have had stomach cancer
Most stomach cancer treatments include surgery.

Your treatment could include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, or a combination of these treatments, but surgery offers the best chance for a cure.

There are many different kinds of surgery. Some remove only the cancer. Some remove part of the stomach along with the cancer. Your surgery will depend on whether your cancer has spread, and where it is in your stomach.

Holden is one of the few centers in the country that offers robot-assisted stomach cancer surgery.

In robotic surgery, the surgeon performs your surgery with the assistance of a robot. Robot-assisted stomach surgery can only be done by a surgeon who has specific advanced training.

This kind of surgery is better for patients in a number of ways:

  • The cut, or incision, the surgeon makes to get into your stomach will be smaller, so you will feel less pain after surgery and can heal faster.
  • The robot’s movements are more precise than a person’s movements, so the surgeon can be more precise when removing the cancerous tissue from your stomach.

Holden surgeons also can do traditional open surgery or other techniques for patients who need those types of treatment.

Holden offers you a variety of additional benefits.

  • We have experts who focus primarily on stomach cancer.They understand the disease, know about the most recent treatment options, and can help you decide what treatment is best for you.
  • You are cared for by a team of cancer experts. Every cancer patient at Holden is treated by a team that includes surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, genetic counselors, pathologists, pharmacists, nurses, social workers, and laboratory-based scientists who all work together to care for you.
  • You can participate in innovative clinical trials of new treatments.These are promising new treatment methods that can make standard treatments even more effective. And our doctors are also stomach cancer researchers, so they stay up to date on all of the latest breakthroughs in stomach cancer care.
  • We provide multiple treatment options. Each stomach cancer diagnosis is different, and each treatment option should be, too. Our doctors and staff work with you and create a treatment program that will best fit you and your cancer.

Meet your care team.

Radiation Oncology Physicians

Cancer Care Clinics

University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics

200 Hawkins Drive
Iowa City, Iowa 52242

Clinical Cancer Center

21602 Pomerantz Family Pavilion (PFP)
Elevator M, Level 1
Phone: 1-319-356-4200

Cancer Services-Quad Cities

1351 Kimberly Road
Suite 100
Bettendorf, Iowa 52722

University of Iowa Health Care Cancer Services-Quad Cities

Phone: 1-563-355-7733