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Symptoms of advanced cancer

Find out about the symptoms of advanced stomach cancer.

Advanced stomach cancer means that a cancer that began in the stomach has spread to another part of the body.

General symptoms

The most common symptom is feeling tired and unwell. Other symptoms depend on where the cancer is in the body. They might include:
  • blood in your poo (stool)
  • vomiting
  • unexplained weight loss
  • stomach pain
  • yellowing of eyes and skin (jaundice)
  • build-up of fluid in your tummy (abdomen) - ascites
  • difficulty swallowing

The most common place for stomach cancer to spread is to the liver. It can also spread to the lungs, to lymph nodes or to the food pipe (oesophagus).

Symptoms of cancer that has spread to the liver

You might have any of the following symptoms if your cancer has spread to the liver:

  • discomfort or pain on the right side of your tummy (abdomen)
  • feeling sick
  • poor appetite and weight loss
  • a swollen tummy (called ascites)
  • yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • itchy skin

Symptoms if cancer has spread to the lungs

You may have any of these symptoms if your cancer has spread into the lungs:

  • a cough that doesn’t go away
  • breathlessness
  • ongoing chest infections
  • coughing up blood
  • a buildup of fluid between the chest wall and the lung (a pleural effusion)

Symptoms if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes

Lymph nodes are part of a system of tubes and glands in the body that filters body fluids and fights infection.

The most common symptom if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes is that they feel hard or swollen. Swollen lymph nodes in the neck area can make it hard to swallow.


Cancer cells can also stop lymph fluid from draining away. This might lead to swelling in the neck or face due to fluid buildup in that area. The swelling is called lymphoedema.

Symptoms if cancer has spread to the food pipe (oesophagus)

You may have any of these symptoms if your cancer has spread to the oeosphagus:

  • heartburn or indigestion that doesn’t go away
  • pain
  • feeling or being sick
  • poor appetite
  • losing weight
  • darker poo due to blood
Last reviewed: 
05 Jul 2016
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    Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2009

  • Cancer and its management (7th edition)
    Tobias and Hochauser
    Wiley Blackwell, 2014

  • Improving supportive and palliative care for adults with cancer
    National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), 2004

  • Gastric cancer
    Cutsem and others
    The Lancet published online May 5, 2016

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