Risk Factors and Symptoms of Stomach Cancer

Risk Factors

Certain factors may increase the chance of developing stomach cancer, though these factors do not directly cause cancer. Some people who have many risk factors never develop stomach cancer, while others with no risk factors do develop stomach cancer. Although some risk factors cannot be changed, such as your age, sex or family history, there are some things you can do to help lower your risk, such as not smoking.

Risk factors include:

  • Age (generally age 60 or older)
  • Gender (more common in men)
  • Smoking
  • Having blood type A
  • Obesity
  • Race (more common in Hispanics, Black Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders)
  • Family history of stomach cancer
  • Eating a diet high in salted, smoked foods and low in fruits and vegetables
  • Having certain medical conditions, including helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, atrophic gastritis (chronic inflammation of the stomach), pernicious anemia, intestinal metaplasia, familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) or gastric polyps

Learn more about risk factors.


Patients with stomach cancer may not have any symptoms right away. This can make stomach cancer difficult to detect early. In some cases, stomach cancer is found during an examination for another reason.

Symptoms that may be linked with stomach cancer include:

  • Indigestion
  • Heartburn
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling full after eating little food
  • Bloating in the abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Weight loss
  • Stomach pain
  • Blood in the stool

Speak with your doctor if you have any new, unexplained or changing symptoms. These symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, many of which are not cancer. Your doctor may check for those other possible conditions as well as for stomach cancer.

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