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Dave returns to see his GP, Dr Roberts, two weeks later to discuss his recent test results.

Symptoms of stomach cancer

Dave has presented to his GP with several symptoms during the course of the consultations, some of which are getting progressively worse. Dr Sarah Taylor, GatewayC GP Lead, discusses the symptoms of stomach cancer with Dr Was Mansoor, Consultant in Medical


Key points

  • Patients with stomach cancer will often present to primary care with indigestion
  • Anorexia (appetite loss) and fatigue tend to develop at a later stage, so patients with these symptoms are more of a concern
  • Patients with indigestion or weight loss should be questioned more specifically:
    • Have you lost your appetite? – this should highlight issues around anorexia/appetite loss
    • Are you able to do less now than you were doing two months ago? – this should highlight fatigue or sarcopenia
  • About 80% of stomach cancer patients develop sarcopenia (muscle loss) resulting in weakness and a change in a patient’s ability to exercise
  • Pain can be a difficult symptom to assess; it could be due to the cancer itself or a manifestation of changed appetite

Symptoms of stomach cancer

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See the table below for NICE NG12 guidance on weight loss with Dave’s associated symptoms.

Symptoms and specific features Recommendation
Weight loss with upper abdominal pain or reflux or dyspepsia, aged 55 and over Offer urgent direct access upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (to be done within 2 weeks) [1.2.7]
Weight loss with raised platelet count or nausea or vomiting, aged 55 and over Consider non-urgent direct access upper gastrointestinal endoscopy  [1.2.9]


Additional resources

Link: Symptoms of stomach cancer, NHS (2019)

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