Stomach cancer (also known as gastric cancer) is cancer that starts in any part of the stomach and is the sixth most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide. Esophageal cancer is a cancer that develops in the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach, and is the eighth most frequently diagnosed cancer worldwide.
- An estimated 26,500 new cases of stomach cancer and 21,560 new cases of esophageal cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2023, with about 27,250 deaths expected to result from these diagnoses.
- The risk of developing either stomach or esophageal cancer increases with age. About 6 of every 10 people receiving a diagnosis are 65 years or older.
- In the U.S., the lifetime risk of developing stomach cancer is higher in men (about 1 in 96) than in women (about 1 in 152). For esophageal cancer, the risk is 1 in 125 men and about 1 in 417 women.
- The overall five-year relative survival rate in the U.S. for people with stomach cancer is about 33% and about 21% for esophageal cancer.
- Both stomach and esophageal cancers are more common in other parts of the world, particularly in less developed countries.
Sources: American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Cancer Facts & Figures 2023; American Cancer Society’s website 2023; WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer 2020
Signs and Symptoms
A symptom is a change in the body that a person can see and/or feel. A sign is a change that the doctor sees during an examination or on a laboratory test result. If you have any of the symptoms below, it does not mean you have cancer but you should see your doctor or health care professional so that the cause can be found and treated, if needed.
- Poor appetite
- Weight loss (without trying)
- Abdominal (belly) pain
- Vague discomfort in the abdomen, usually above the navel
- Feeling full after eating only a small meal
- Heartburn or indigestion
- 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