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Is Excessive Burping a Sign of Stomach Cancer?

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The early symptoms of stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, are like those of other conditions that are far less serious.

Those who experience seemingly benign symptoms such as frequent indigestion, heartburn and burping can often write them off as nuisance health issues. As a result, stomach cancer can sometimes be advanced by the time it’s diagnosed.

Stomach cancers tend to develop slowly over many years. Before a true cancer develops, pre-cancerous changes often occur in the inner lining – called the mucosa – of the stomach. These early changes rarely cause symptoms, so they often go undetected.

So it’s important to learn the facts about stomach cancer and seek medical help for persistent gastric symptoms.

How common is stomach cancer?

According to the American Cancer Society, 1.5% of new cancers diagnosed in the United States each year are stomach cancer. They estimate 26,890 cases will be diagnosed in 2024, and 10,880 people will die from the disease.

Stomach cancer symptoms

Early-stage stomach cancer rarely causes symptoms. Even in cases where initial symptoms do appear, they can be vague and easy to write off. These symptoms include:

  • Persistent indigestion and heartburn
  • Trapped wind and frequent burping
  • Feeling very full or bloated after meals
  • Persistent stomach pain

As the cancer progresses, it can cause more noticeable problems. These include:

  • Poor appetite
  • Weight loss without trying
  • Vague discomfort in the abdomen, usually above the navel
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting, with or without blood
  • Swelling or fluid build-up in the abdomen
  • Blood in the stool
  • Feeling tired or weak, as a result of having too few red blood cells (anemia)
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), if the cancer spreads to the liver

Stomach cancer risks and prevention

Stomach cancer is more common in men than women. It can occur in younger people, but the risk goes up with age. Most people diagnosed with stomach cancer are over 65.

Being overweight or obese and having a diet high in processed foods can increase the risk, as can heavy alcohol and tobacco use.

Experts say there is no sure way to prevent stomach cancer. But steps can be taken to reduce the risk.

Those include maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet and participating in physical activity on a regular basis. These steps can reduce the risk of several other cancers and health problems as well.

Learn more about Dr. Lingling Du and gastrointestinal cancer care at Ochsner Health.


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