The symptoms of stomach cancer can be confused with a variety of conditions including stomach ulcers. This could make diagnosis difficult without proper investigative care. It typically does not cause easily detectable symptoms until the malignant cells spread to neighbouring organs.
Unfortunately stomach cancer is often diagnosed at later stages:
- Stomach cancer patients with a known stage are most commonly diagnosed at stage IV (46-57%).
- More patients with a known stage are diagnosed at a late stage (69-75% are diagnosed at stage III or IV), rather than an early stage (25-31% are diagnosed at stage I or II
Stomach cancer is often diagnosed in an emergency medical visit:
- 32% of stomach cancer cases in England are diagnosed after presenting as an emergency. 69% of these emergency cases are via Accident and Emergency (A&E), with the other cases coming via an emergency GP referral, inpatient referral or outpatient referral.
- 28% of stomach cancer cases in England are diagnosed via the ‘two-week wait’ referral route.
- 22% of stomach cancer cases in England are diagnosed following a routine or urgent GP referral (but not under the ‘two-week wait’ referral route).