Stomach (Upper GI)

Stomach cancer is a general term that covers cancers found in the digestive (upper gastrointestinal) system, including stomach, oesophagus, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder.

These are relatively uncommon types of cancer in the UK.

Stomach cancer

Stomach cancer, sometimes called gastric cancer, is one that starts anywhere inside the stomach or the stomach wall.

Symptoms

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Weight loss
  • Heartburn or acid reflux that doesn’t go away
  • Feeling full quickly when eating
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Lump or pain at the top of the tummy
  • Fatigue

These symptoms could be less serious gastrointestinal diseases or conditions, and you might get used to them, but it is important you speak to your GP if your symptoms change, get worse or do not feel normal to you.

Treatment

The type of treatment you receive will depend on the location and stage of your cancer. The main treatments include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy

Your treatment plan may have a combination of these.

Oesophageal cancer

Commonly known as the food pipe or gullet, the oesophagus connects your mouth to your stomach. The signs of cancer can be hard to spot. Oesophageal cancer is mainly diagnosed in people aged over 60.

Symptoms

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Heartburn or acid reflux that doesn’t go away
  • Burping a lot
  • Hoarse voice
  • Weight loss
  • Pain in your throat or behind breastbone

These symptoms could be less serious gastrointestinal diseases or conditions, and you might get used to them, but it is important you speak to your GP if your symptoms change, get worse or do not feel normal to you.

Treatment

The type of treatment you receive will depend on the location and stage of your cancer. The main treatments include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Chemoradiotherapy

Your treatment plan may have a combination of these.

Pancreatic cancer

Your pancreas, located at the top of the tummy, helps you to digest food and produces insulin and other digestive juices. Pancreatic cancer may not have any symptoms or appear vague, making it hard to spot.

Symptoms

  • Yellowing of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Itchy skin
  • Darker than normal pee
  • Paler than normal poo
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Changes to your poo (constipation or diarrhoea)
  • Pain in tummy or back which gets worse when eating, lying down or bending forward
  • Feeling bloated

These symptoms could be irritable bowel syndrome, and you might get used to them, but it is important you speak to your GP if your symptoms change, get worse or do not feel normal to you.

Treatment

The type of treatment you receive will depend on the location and stage of your cancer. The main treatments include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy

Your treatment plan may have a combination of these.

Liver cancer

Your liver is a large organ at the top right side of the tummy and helps you digest food and remove toxins

Symptoms

  • Yellowing of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Itchy skin
  • Darker than normal pee
  • Paler than normal poo
  • Feeling tired
  • A lump or pain in the right side of your tummy
  • Feeling unwell, like you have flu
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen tummy

These symptoms could be less serious conditions but it is important you speak to your GP if you have any of these symptoms.

Treatment

The type of treatment you receive will depend on the location and stage of your cancer. The main treatments include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Target cancer drugs

Your treatment plan may have a combination of these.

Gallbladder cancer

Gallbladder cancer is quite rare in the UK and is sometimes called biliary cancer. It might not have any symptoms, making it hard to spot.

Symptoms

  • Yellowing of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Itchy skin
  • Darker than normal pee
  • Paler than normal poo
  • Loss of appetite
  • High temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
  • Feeling or being sick
  • A lump or pain in your tummy

These symptoms could be less serious conditions but it is important you speak to your GP if you have any of these symptoms.

Treatment

The type of treatment you receive will depend on the location and stage of your cancer. The main treatments include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy

Your treatment plan may have a combination of these.

Support and more information available

NHS

Stomach cancer
Oesophageal cancer
Pancreatic cancer
Liver cancer
Gallbladder cancer

Cancer Research UK

Stomach cancer
Oesophageal cancer
Pancreatic cancer
Liver cancer
Gallbladder cancer

Macmillan

Stomach cancer
Oesophageal cancer
Pancreatic cancer
Liver cancer
Gallbladder cancer

 

Guts UK

Heartburn Cancer UK

Ochre

Oesophageal and Stomach Cancer Patient Support

Oesophageal Patients Association

Pancreatic Cancer UK