health care  
All about stomach cancer causes of stomach cancer risk factors for stomach cancer symptoms of stomach cancer diagnosis of stomach cancer stages of stomach cancer treatment for stomach cancer prevention of stomach cancer

How is stomach cancer diagnosed?

When a doctor suspects stomach cancer from the symptoms described by the patient, he or she will use several methods to find out if the disease is present. A complete medical history will be taken to check for any risk factors. A thorough physical examination will be conducted to assess all the symptoms. Laboratory tests may be ordered to check for blood in the stool

(fecal occult blood test) and anemia (low red blood cell count), which often accompany gastric cancer.

Endoscopy is the most important investigation. This should be done promptly in patients with dyspepsia which persists for more than a few weeks or which does not respond to treatment, especially in those over the age of 40-45 years. At endoscopy the inner lining (mucosa) can be carefully inspected and biopsies of any suspicious or abnormal areas can be taken. Sometimes it is not possible to tell whether a gastric ulcer is benign or malignant from the appearances alone and multiple biopsies are usually needed. All patients with a gastric ulcer which is thought to be benign should undergo a repeat examination four to six weeks after treatment to ensure that the ulcer has healed properly.

Once the pathologist has confirmed the diagnosis of cancer further investigations are then carried out to asses whether the tumor has spread through the wall of the stomach to involve adjacent organs and to asses whether or not there is spread of the disease to the liver. This "staging" is necessary to determine whether the tumor can be removed surgically or not. A CT scan is the most important investigation for this and usually gives accurate information but occasionally tiny deposits of tumor have spread (like seeds) thoughout the abdomen and are not visible on the CT scan. For this reason surgeons sometimes wish to perform laparoscopy before deciding whether or not to operate. In this technique the patient is given brief general anesthetic and the surgeon inspects the abdominal cavity carefully with a telescope which is passed through a small incision in the abdominal wall.

More information on stomach cancer

What is stomach cancer? - Stomach cancer (gastric cancer) is a disease in which normal cells in the stomach tissues become cancerous and grow out of control.
What causes stomach cancer? - Stomach cancer arises from changes in the internal lining of the stomach. Stomach cancer is more common in smokers and in those with heavy alcohol intake.
What're the risk factors for stomach cancer? - Risk factors for stomach cancer include eating foods high in starch and low in fiber, smoking, drinking alcohol, and vitamin A deficiency.
What're the symptoms of stomach cancer? - Symptoms of stomach cancer include weight loss, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal bleeding, nausea and vomiting.
How is stomach cancer diagnosed? - A complete medical history will be taken to check for any risk factors. A thorough physical examination will be conducted to assess all the symptoms.
What're the stages of stomach cancer? - Staging of stomach cancer is based on how deep the growth has penetrated the stomach lining. Staging may not be complete until after surgery.
What's the treatment for stomach cancer? - Standard treatment available for stomach cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
How to prevent stomach cancer? - By avoiding many of the risk factors associated with the disease, it is possible to prevent many stomach cancers.
Cancers and tumors Mainpage

Topics about cancer

Bone tumors
Bone cancer
Anal cancer
Colorectal cancer (bowel cancer)
Colon cancer
Esophageal cancer
Pancreatic cancer
Stomach cancer
Thyroid cancer
Brain tumor
Brain cancer
Spinal cord tumors
Lung cancer
Breast cancer

All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005