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Information, risk factors, and symptoms
Digestive cancer, also called gastrointestinal cancer, affects the organs of the digestive system. Cancerous tumors can grow in any part of this system, such as the:
Risk factors for digestive cancer
Risk factors for digestive cancer range widely because so many different organs can be affected. Some factors that contribute to cancers across the digestive system include:
- Age: People 60 years and older are more likely to develop digestive cancer.
- Alcohol: Heavy drinkers (those that drink more than two alcoholic beverages per day) are more likely to develop digestive cancers, like liver and stomach cancer.
- Diabetes: People with diabetes are at higher risk for pancreatic and colon cancer.
- Smoking: Cigarette smokers have an increased risk of developing digestive cancers.
Signs and symptoms of digestive cancer
Digestive cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer. It often is difficult to treat because symptoms usually aren’t noticeable until the disease is at an advanced stage. If you experience any of the following symptoms, see a doctor to diagnose your condition:
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Feeling bloated or unusually full
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting blood
- Weight loss
Support for digestive cancer patients
We’ll provide the information you need to understand your diagnosis and manage your symptoms during treatment. We encourage you to take part in cancer support groups to find courage and hope from other cancer patients and survivors.