Finding stomach cancer early

When stomach cancer is found and treated early, the chances of successful treatment are better. Get regular health checkups and see your doctor if you have:

  • heartburn or indigestion
  • bloating, discomfort or pain in the abdomen
  • feeling full after a small meal
  • feeling like food is getting stuck in the throat while eating
  • nausea, vomiting or both

Some people have a higher than average risk of developing stomach cancer. You may be at a higher risk if you:

  • have Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection
  • smoke
  • have a family history of stomach cancer
  • have an inherited condition such as hereditary diffuse gastric cancer (HDGC), familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), Lynch syndrome, Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, juvenile polyposis syndrome, Li-Fraumeni syndrome or BRCA gene mutations
  • have a stomach condition such as chronic atrophic gastritis, intestinal metaplasia, gastric epithelial dysplasia, adenomas, Ménétrier disease, pernicious anemia
  • had stomach surgery
  • have type A blood

Talk to your doctor about your risk. If you are at higher than average risk, you may need a personal plan for testing. This may include:

Expert review and references

  • American Association for Clinical Chemistry. H pylori Testing. 2014: http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/h-pylori/tab/test/.
  • American Cancer Society. Stomach Cancer. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society; 2014: http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003141-pdf.pdf.
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology. Stomach Cancer: Symptoms and Signs. 2014: http://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/stomach-cancer/symptoms-and-signs.
  • Avital I, Stojadinovic A, Pisters PWT, Kelsen DP, Willett CG . Cancer of the stomach. DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015: 46:613-642.
  • Chun N, Ford JM . Genetic testing in stomach cancer. DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA. Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015: 47:643-650.
  • Dinis-Ribeiro M, Areia M, de Vries AC, et al . Management of precancerous conditions and lesions in the stomach (MAPS): guideline from the European Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ESGE), European Helicobacter Study Group (EHSG), European Society of Pathology (ESP), and the Sociedade Portuguesa. Endoscopy. Thieme; 2012: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3367502/.
  • Shibata A, Parsonnet J . Stomach cancer. Schottenfeld D, Fraumeni JF Jr (eds.). Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press; 2006: 37:707-720.