What Are Symptoms of Fourth-Stage Gastric Cancer?


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The American Cancer Society says that symptoms of advanced gastric cancer include lack of appetite, weight loss and abdominal discomfort. There may also be nausea, heartburn and vomiting. If the cancer has spread to the lungs, there may be shortness of breath, states the National Cancer Institute. Cancer invading the liver may cause jaundice and abdominal swelling. Bone metastases may cause severe pain and bone fractures, and brain metastases may cause headaches, seizures and behavioral changes.

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However, often individuals with metastases do not experience any symptoms at all, says the National Cancer Institute. Frequently the metastatic lesions are only identified after performing imaging tests such as X-rays, bone scintigraphy and positron emission tomography scans.

Stage IV gastric cancer is cancer that has spread beyond the stomach to other organs, explains the American Cancer Society. Gastric cancer most commonly spreads to the liver and lungs, but it can also spread to the brain and bones. Early stage gastric cancer does not cause any symptoms, and most cases are not diagnosed until they have progressed to advanced stages and begin to cause symptoms. The five-year survival rate after diagnosis of stage IV gastric cancer is only four percent. Gastric cancer primarily affects elderly individuals, and only around 25,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the United States.

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