Stomach Cancer Diagnosis
In order to make a stomach cancer diagnosis, doctors will most likely need to perform a physical exam, review the patient's medical history, and order other tests and procedures that examine the stomach and the esophagus. Exams and procedures that are used to make a stomach cancer diagnosis may include blood tests, an upper GI series, an endoscopy, a biopsy, and a CT scan.
In order to make a diagnosis of stomach cancer, doctors will usually need to:
- Look for possible symptoms of stomach cancer
- Perform a physical exam
- Review the patient's medical history
- Perform additional tests and procedures that examine the stomach and esophagus.
In this eMedTV article, the term "stomach cancer" is used to refer to gastric adenocarcinoma (cancer of the glandular tissue in the stomach). Gastric adenocarcinoma is the most common type of stomach cancer. Other types of stomach cancer include lymphomas (cancers involving the lymphatic system) and sarcomas (cancers of the connective tissue, such as muscle, fat, or blood vessels).
(Click Lymphoma for information about a less common type of cancer that may develop in the stomach.)
Doctors may also refer patients to a gastroenterologist, who is a doctor that specializes in diagnosing and treating digestive problems.
Stomach Cancer Diagnosis: Physical Exam and Medical History
During the physical exam, the doctor will examine the body to check for general signs of health. The doctor will be looking for:
- Signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual
- Changes in the abdomen, such as fluid or swelling
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Skin and eyes that appear yellow.
The medical history will typically involve asking about the patient's health habits and discussing the patient's family medical history (including such things as medical conditions, past illnesses, and treatments).