Gastric Carcinoma at 20x Magnification
Stomach cancer can be difficult to diagnose because in its early stages the disease may be asymptomatic. Also, when signs do begin to appear, they are easily mistakenly attributed to other, less serious disorders, thus leading individuals to delay seeking medical advice. Among the most common symptoms of stomach cancer are abdominal pain or discomfort, heartburn, indigestion, bloating, nausea, vomiting (sometimes bringing up blood), loss of appetite, weakness, fatigue, and blood in the stool. Due to the vagueness of such symptoms, when a doctor is consulted, he or she generally must order testing, which may include a fecal occult blood test, a gastroscopic exam, and an upper gastrointestinal series, to establish a proper diagnosis. Once stomach cancer is diagnosed, the disease must be staged to determine its extent and determine the best course of treatment.