Diagnosis of Stomach Cancer

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Stomach Cancer Surgeon in Bangalore

Life was full and happy. Two healthy kids, boy first, then a girl, beautiful house in a great neighborhood. Things were great. Then, suddenly, like in a movie, everything changed.
 
This is the story shared by a mother of two children ( names withheld for privacy purpose).

 They had just moved into our dream home and her husband’s career as an actor was thriving.
   
Her husband was just recovering from the endoscopy when they got the results confirming stomach cancer. Initially, her husband was in denial. She also felt like they were inside a movie. But there was no time to loose.

 It is not an easy path. Early diagnosis helped him defeat cancer.

Diagnosis and treatments have evolved over the years

The doctor will first discuss  medical history and examine the patient. If the doctor suspects stomach cancer, tests will be needed to confirm.

Diagnosis of Stomach Cancer | Stomach Cancer Surgeon in Bangalore

Medical history and physical exam

Doctors will discuss regarding bloating, abdominal pain and other digestion issues. The doctor will do a physical examination along with this.

Upper Endoscopy

EGD or Upper endoscopy  is the test used to diagnose stomach cancer. Doctors recommend this test when people have risk factors or symptoms associated with stomach cancer.

The doctor passes a thin flexible tube called endoscope, with a small video camera on the end, down your throat. If abnormal tissues are seen, a small part of tissue can be taken out and sent to a lab to check for cancer.

When the doctor views a tumour in the stomach through an endoscope it may appear like a mushroom-shaped mass. But unfortunately, there is a type of stomach cancer called hereditary diffuse gastric cancer syndrome in which the tumour cannot be spotted during an endoscopy.

Endoscopic Ultrasound

This test uses sound waves to produce images of organs. A probe called transducer is placed on the stomach wall. This probe detects echoes that are computer processed to produce an image. The quality of this image is better than standard ultrasound.

Endoscopic ultrasound helps the doctor assess the stage of cancer, the lymph nodes and tissues.  

Biopsy

When the doctor conducts an endoscopy and spots an abnormal region, he recommends a biopsy to conform if it is cancer. Biopsies may also be taken from the stomach, intestines, lymph nodes to check if cancer has spread.

Testing Biopsy Samples

Biopsy samples are sent to a lab and examined under a microscope to check if they are cancerous.

Imaging Tests

Imaging tests use x-rays or magnetic waves, sound waves, or radioactive substances to create images.

Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) Series

This procedure uses X-rays to look at the inner lining of the stomach, interstine and esophagus. But it is not a very accurate diagnosis procedure as sometimes it can miss finding abnormal regions. But it is considered as a less evasive procedure.

Computed Tomography (CT or CAT) Scan

A CT scan uses x-rays to make accurate images of your body.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) Scan

 MRI scans use radio waves to get detailed images of soft tissues in the body

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan

During a PET scan, doctors are injected with a radioactive form of sugar. This collects mainly in cancer cells. The areas radioactive sugar is identified with images captured by a camera.

Chest X-Ray

Doctors may recommend this test to check if cancer has spread to the lungs from the stomach.

Other tests:

Laparoscopy

Doctors recommend laparoscopy only after stomach cancer is confirmed . Since imaging tests such as CT or MRI scans can miss small tumours, doctors perform this procedure to confirm cancer before surgery.

Lab Tests

Doctors recommend a complete blood count test  to rule out for anemia that is usually caused in patients who have stomach cancer. In a similar manner, other blood tests may be recommended to check if your other organs are healthy before undergoing a surgery to remove the tumor.

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