Cancers of the Abdominal Area: Signs and Symptoms
Abdominal cancer refers to any particular cancer that may affect one or more organs within the abdominal region. Gastric cancer, which is also commonly referred to as stomach cancer, is the most prevalent form of abdominal cancer. Other types of cancers that get included in this category are colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, renal cancer, liver cancer, ovarian cancer and uterine cancer.
Symptoms of abdominal cancer are varied, depending on the area of the abdomen where the cancer originated. Recent research indicates that patients with a family history of abdominal cancers face a higher risk of this disease. The connection with family history is more strongly observed in cases of gastric cancers. Such people should go for periodic examinations, and the doctor should be made aware of this medical history. Symptoms may be vague in the early stages, and tests may be conducted to positively identify the cancer.
Early Signs of Abdominal Cancer
Persistent problem of burps, acidity, indigestion and a feeling of fullness may be the earliest signs of abdominal cancer. However, these are very vague symptoms and only about 2 percent of people who visit a physician for the first time with a complaint of indigestion or acidity may actually suffer from abdominal cancer.
Other early symptoms of the disease may include pain or swelling in the abdominal area, feeling of sickness and nausea, vomiting, unexplained loss of appetite and progressive weight loss. Some patients may continue to experience symptoms such as indigestion, acidity and nausea for years before they are diagnosed with stomach cancer.
Symptoms of Abdominal Cancer in Advanced Stage
Abdominal cancers may reveal varied symptoms including tiredness and fatigue, sleeping for longer hours than usual, night sweating, difficulty or pain while swallowing, feeling feverish, itching in the skin, jaundice, constipation, diarrhea, shortness of breath, anemia, loss of sexual desire or poor sexual performance, abnormally long or heavy periods, and development of lumps or masses in the abdominal area.
Bleeding into the stomach may be a symptom of gastric cancer. Blood vomiting may occur in some cases. Bright blood may indicate fresh bleeding, where as dark blood may show that the blood has been retained in the stomach for some time. Blood clotting is more commonly seen in the advanced stages. Blood clot may be indicated by sudden pain or swelling in the leg, or chest pain and breathlessness.
Many patients complain of pain in the abdominal region. The precise location of the pain may vary from one patient to another, but generally it is found in the upper abdomen or just below the breast bone. Some patients may develop fluid in the abdomen, which is known as ascites. This condition may occur in case the stomach cancer is at an advanced stage.
In some cases, the blood may not come out by vomiting, and may pass through the digestive system. This may result in blood in the stools of the patient. Loss of appetite and loss of weight may occur either at an early stage or at an advanced stage of the cancer.