Conditions That Can Mimic Stomach Cancer

There are conditions that can mimic stomach cancer symptoms and it is clearly important to exclude these.

Feeling full (early satiety), bloating, weight loss, indigestion, anemia, nausea and vomiting can occur with:

Conditions That Can Mimic Stomach Cancer

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Esophageal Cancer

When they occur low in the esophagus or gullet they can produce exactly the same symptoms.

Another feature that occurs with this form of tumor is dysphagia or a feeling of food sticking.

Benign Peptic Ulcers

Benign or non-cancerous ulcers can cause exactly the same symptoms as tumors.

If the ulcer lies in the pyloric or exit point of your stomach, it can cause a condition known as pyloric stenosis.

A stenosis is a narrowing and if the exit point is narrowed, food and gastric juices can’t exit.

The result of this is a build-up of food and fluid which makes you feel nauseous and taking any more food in will make you feel full and eventually cause you to vomit.

A similar situation can occur in the duodenum (the first part of your small bowel), where duodenal ulcers can cause a similar problem

Duodenal Malignancies

This is a rare tumor that can cause structuring or narrowing within the duodenum.

If this occurs, food and fluid are blocked and will build up, with similar symptoms resulting.

Crohns Disease

Crohns disease, a form of inflammatory bowel disease, can cause structuring or narrowing in your small bowel, in a similar way to the other conditions I have mentioned.

This condition can cause exactly the same symptoms as tumors. It can also rarely involve the stomach too, causing ulceration.


Gastroparesis is a condition of the stomach which prevents the normal contractions, known as peristalsis, from occurring.

It is most commonly associated with diabetes, but can also occur with other conditions such as amyloid and neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis.

Delayed gastric emptying occurs in a similar way to pyloric stenosis. As a result, food and fluid build-up occurs.

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease can cause anemia, bloating and weight loss.

Other features such as diarrhea may be absent hence differentiating it on symptoms alone is difficult.

Investigating Conditions That Can Mimic Stomach Cancer

Investigations for these conditions are the same as for those with gastric tumors.

Endoscopy and biopsy is the primary investigation you are likely to have first ad well as other investigations such as CT.

Special radiological investigations such as barium meal and follow through, where contrast is given that shows on x-ray, and followed from the esophagus through to the small bowel to look for strictures or narrowing’s.

Gastric emptying studies are used to help diagnose Gastroparesis.

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