9 Symptoms of Stomach Cancer

For those who are uncertain about exactly what cancer is, cancer is the abnormal growth of cells within a body. Normally, a cell stops dividing and growing in number when it has reached its peak optimal levels. Mistakes in gene expression or cell development can cause cells to continue to multiply well past their accepted levels. These cells can then spread to other parts of the body and continue to infect and multiply.

Stomach cancer, specifically, begins in the stomach and develops over time and in small degrees over the span of those years. There’s a pre-cancerous stage that exists before full-blown cancer which occurs in the lining of the stomach. Since the pre-cancerous development rarely causes noticeable symptoms, it can often go unnoticed. This can make detecting stomach cancer difficult.

1. Dark Stool

Dark, or black, stools do not always immediately mean you have stomach cancer. They can arise from something as innocent as eating black licorice or taking iron supplements. Blood that enters from the stomach can turn the stool dark through interactions with certain enzymes during digestion. If you’ve been bleeding for awhile, you should notice stools that appear similar to coffee grounds. The dark color comes from old blood that has been bleeding into the bottom part of your stomach for a long period of time.

The medical term is melaena and means old, dark blood in feces. The consistency is tarry and can accompany vomiting blood. The duration of dark stools matter. If you’re only experiencing a few dark stools over a long period of time, then you may have nothing to worry about. However, if your stools are consistently dark and you notice traces of blood, then they may be indicating a concerning problem. If the stool smells foul, or you experienced pain when passing the stools, and if you see traces of blood, then you should consult your doctor. If you feel dizzy or weak this might indicate that you are bleeding heavily, and you should call an ambulance.