Gastric cancer (or stomach cancer) is a relatively uncommon type of cancer that affects about 7,300 people each year in the UK.

The most common type of stomach cancer is adenocarcinoma, which accounts for 95% of all stomach cancers. Adenocarcinoma starts in the glandular cells of the stomach lining.

Less common cancers that can start in the stomach include:

  • soft tissue sarcomas, including gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs)
  • lymphomas, such as mucosa associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphomas
  • Neuroendocrine tumours

The initial symptoms of stomach cancer are common ailments and easy to mistake for other less serious conditions. They include:

  • persistent indigestion and heartburn
  • trapped wind and frequent burping
  • feeling very full or bloated after meals
  • persistent stomach pain

Other symptoms may include:

  • blood in your stools, or black stools
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss

The outlook for stomach cancer depends on several things, including your age, general health and how far the cancer has spread before it is diagnosed.

Unfortunately, as stomach cancer is often not picked up until the later stages, the outlook is not as good as for some other cancers.