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Minority Women's Health

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Stomach cancer

Asian-American women have the highest rates of new cases of stomach cancer compared to women of all other groups. Rates of stomach cancer are almost three times higher than in white women.

Stomach cancer can happen in any part of the stomach. It can also spread throughout the stomach and to other organs, even distant organs. Often there are no symptoms in the early stages. This can make the cancer hard to find early. In many cases, the cancer has spread before it is found. When symptoms do occur, they are often so mild that the person ignores them. Stomach cancer can cause:

  • Indigestion or a burning sensation (heartburn)
  • Discomfort or pain in the abdomen (stomach area)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Bloating of the stomach after meals
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness and fatigue (feeling very tired)
  • Vomiting blood or having blood in the stool

Any of these symptoms can be caused by stomach cancer. But they can also be caused by less serious health problems, such as a stomach virus or a peptic ulcer. Still, you should see your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms.

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Content last updated: May 18, 2010.

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