Stomach Cancer / Indigestion

What is stomach cancer?

Stomach cancer or gastric cancer is an abnormal tissue growth in the stomach. The cancer growth typically starts in the inner lining of the stomach and can spread through the wall of the stomach and into nearby organs. 

In Singapore, stomach cancer ranks 9th among women’s cancers1 and is the 7th most prevalent cancer in men2. It is potentially curable if detected early. However, stomach cancer patients often receive their diagnosis in the late stages. 

stomach cancer

What are the risk factors for stomach cancer?

  • Chronic infection with Helicobacter Pylori, a bacterium that lives in the mucous lining of the stomach
  • Diet high in processed foods, salted products, and pickled foods
  • Diet low in fruits and vegetables
  • Previous history of chronic gastritis, which refers to a long-term inflammation of stomach
  • Family history of cancer of the stomach
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption

What are the signs and symptoms of stomach cancer?

  • Persistent discomfort or pain in the stomach area
  • Persistent indigestion and heartburn
  • Bloating after meals
  • Feeling of fullness even after small meals
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Vomiting of blood or having blood in the stools

How is stomach cancer detected?

Gastroscopy is the best method of detecting stomach cancers in its early stages. The procedure includes examination of the esophagus (gullet) and part of the duodenum. It can also detect intestinal metaplasia, dysplasia and Helicobactor pylori infection, all of which increases risk of stomach cancer.

How is stomach cancer treated?

Treatment of stomach cancer varies depending on the patient’s condition. Options for treating stomach cancer include:

  • Endoscopic resection for early cancer
  • Open surgery 
  • Laparoscopic surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy

Why choose Centre for Screening and Surgery?

The Centre for Screening and Surgery (CSS) specialises in the screening and detection of cancer in its early stages. In the case of colon and other gastrointestinal cancers, we use high-definition gastroscopy and colonoscopy to diagnose cancers or remove polyps, in addition to blood tests for tumour markers. When surgery is needed, we specialise in the minimally invasive approach, including robotic surgery, leading to less pain, a shorter recovery, and better cosmetic results. 

CSS is led by Dr Kum Cheng Kiong, a pioneer in Asia for Minimally Invasive Surgery (Laparoscopic Surgery or Keyhole Surgery) with more than 30 years of experience and has received advanced training in colorectal surgery in Cleveland clinic, USA. He is the former President of the Singapore chapter of the Endoscopic and Laparoscopic Surgeons of Asia (ELSA) and the founding member of the Endoscopic and Laparoscopic Surgeons of Asia.


1&2, Singapore Cancer Society


Stomach cancer often goes undetected for many years because its symptoms are similar to less serious conditions like constipation or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When stomach cancer advances to its later stages, it begins to exhibit more severe symptoms.

There is no guaranteed way to prevent stomach cancer. However, you can lower your risk by:

  • Limiting your consumption of alcohol
  • Avoiding smoked and pickled foods
  • Eating fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Exercising regularly

After stomach cancer develops, it commonly spreads to the liver, lungs or lymph nodes.

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