One thing you may notice with your stomach cancer is a black bowel movement.
These are experienced because of bleeding, from tumor or another source.
The change in color is due to changes in the bloods haemoglobin, the carrier of oxygen in your blood.
These changes occur as blood passes through the small intestine.
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Malignant tumors have blood vessels within them and can ulcerate and bleed.
This is the most common reason as these tumors are usually quite ‘friable’.
By this, I mean the tissue is very soft usually and easily damaged. When this happens, bleeding can occur.
When you cut yourself, you would normally bleed. This stops because of your bodies clotting mechanisms.
Platelet cells that normally stop you bleeding can be reduced in numbers when you have stomach cancer.
This is either because of the effects your cancer has on your bone marrow or because of the chemotherapy treatment killing off your cell production.
If the platelet count in is low, you are more likely to bleed.
Equally, clotting factors produced in your liver can be reduced if you have tumor deposits in your liver.
If the factors are low, you blood can’t clot.
It can occur from sources other than your tumor. You can have an ulcer or perhaps esophagitis – an inflamed gullet caused by acid reflux.
There are numerous causes of gastrointestinal bleeding which I won’t go in to here.
If you are taking iron, one consequence of taking it is black bowel movements.
The iron is converted by the stomach acid which in turn makes your stools black.
Iron can also make you constipated to.
If you are having a lot of problems, you may need to have an endoscopy to look for the cause and to try stopping it.
It can also be used to look for other causes that may be a problem.
Tumor bleeds are quite difficult to stop, but sometimes the surface can be sprayed with adrenaline or a glue to help stop it.
The stomach cancer can also be cauterised or ‘burnt’ to help stop the flow of blood.
If there is a blood vessel evident, the endoscopist can put a clip on it to stop the bleeding.
If there is no endoscopic means to stop the blood, clips can be placed either side of the tumor which will show up on x-ray. T
You may need to have a blood transfusion if you are very anemic too.
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