What is stomach cancer?

Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer or adenocarcinoma, is cancer that begins formation in the inner lining of the stomach. While it is less common in the United States, it is often found in people in Asia, South America, eastern and central Europe. This may be because of a saltier diet or a diet high in pickled or smoked foods. Other risk factors for developing stomach cancer include:

You may also be more at risk if you smoke, are overweight or obese, or if you work or have worked in the coal, metal, timber or rubber industries.

Symptoms of stomach cancer

People with stomach cancer may or may not have symptoms at first. Certain early symptoms are similar to those of other conditions, such as:

  • Bloating
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea

Because these symptoms are common to many conditions, stomach cancer may go unrecognized at first.

As the condition worsens, you may have symptoms such as:

  • Bloody stool
  • Stomach pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

Diagnosis and testing for stomach cancer

If you are having symptoms that are concerning you or you know that you are at risk for stomach cancer, be sure to talk with your doctor. Your doctor will perform a completely physical exam and review of your medical history. The doctor may also recommend certain tests, such as:

You may also need a stool test to rule out infection or parasites, and to check for white blood cells and fecal fat.


Your doctor will review and explain the test results with you. If you are diagnosed with stomach cancer, a common treatment approach includes a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and targeted drugs.

Radiation Therapy

Specialists at Main Line Health offer a variety of radiation therapies to help treat cancerous tumors while preserving healthy tissue.


Chemotherapy is used to fight almost every type of cancer and is part of the comprehensive treatment plan created by our oncologists.



Main Line Health gastroenterology works to resolve digestive issues and GI conditions. Find the right solution for your digestive conditions at one of our Philadelphia locations.

Hematology and Blood Disorders

Whether you are fighting cancer or managing a blood disorder, the hematologists and oncologists at Main Line Health offer the comprehensive care you need.

Cancer Care

From diagnosis and throughout treatment, Main Line Health cancer specialists (oncologists) provide compassionate care for you and your loved ones through all stages of cancer treatment.