Stomach cancer symptoms tend to affect a person’s digestion. Heartburn or acid reflux, having problems swallowing, feeling or being sick, and burping are some of the more common signs to look out for. But another symptom may appear when you go to the toilet.
According to American Cancer Society, blood in your poo can be a sign of stomach cancer.
But it’s important to note blood in poo isn’t always a sign of stomach cancer.
The NHS advises poo can look like it’s mixed with blood if you’ve eaten a lot of red or purple foods like tomatoes and beetroot.
Blood and yellow slime when pooing, an irritated anus and non-stop bottom pain can be a sign of an anal fistula – a small tunnel that develops between the end of the bowel and the skin near the anus.
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Bloody diarrhoea with clear slime, and feeling and being sick can be signs of a tummy bug.
Blood diarrhoea, tummy cramps and pain and feeling bloated can be a sign of an inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
Blood in poo, a change in posing habits such as looser poo, diarrhoea or constipation and slime with poo can signal bowel polyps or an early sign of bowel cancer.
Just blood in poo can be a symptom of bleeding in the anus, bowel or lower gut from an injury.
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Other symptoms of stomach cancer listed by the American Cancer Society include:
Poor appetiteWeight loss (without trying)Abdominal (belly) painVague discomfort in the abdomen, usually above the navelA sense of fullness in the upper abdomen after eating a small mealHeartburn or indigestionNauseaVomiting with or without bloodSwelling or fluid build-up in the abdomenLow red blood cell count (anaemia)
If you experience any of these symptoms, see your GP.
Who is at risk of stomach cancer?
A person’s risk of developing stomach cancer depends on many things, including age and lifestyle.
Cancer Research UK explains: “Stomach cancer is more common in older people. Around half of stomach cancers develop in people aged 75 or over.
“Men are more likely to get the disease compared to women.”
Smoking tobacco can also increase a person’s risk of stomach cancer.
The charity adds: “Around 1 in 5 of stomach cancers in the UK is linked to smoking. Your risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked a day.
“It is never too late to stop smoking but the sooner you stop the better.”
Stomach cancer risk is also higher in people who drink three or more units of alcohol each day, compared with people who don’t drink or only drink occasionally.
Being overweight or obese can also increase your risk of getting cancer in the top part of your stomach.