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Stomach Cancer Stage

Once the doctor has diagnosed stomach cancer, he or she will need to determine the stage of the disease in order to plan treatment. Stages are used to express the extent of the cancer. The stages of stomach cancer include stages 0 through IV and recurrent stomach cancer. Tests and procedures that may be used to determine the stage include such things as assays, chest x-rays, a CT scan, an endoscopic ultrasound, a PET scan, and a laparoscopy.

Stomach Cancer Stages: An Overview

If a doctor makes a stomach cancer diagnosis, he or she will need to identify the stage of the cancer in order to plan treatment of the disease. Staging is an attempt to determine the size of the tumor, whether the disease has spread, and if so, to what parts of the body. The doctor may be able to determine the stage of stomach cancer at the time of diagnosis, or the patient may need more tests.
For purposes of this 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).
(See the eMedTV article Lymphoma for information about a less common type of cancer that may develop in the stomach.)

Tests Used for Staging Stomach Cancer

The following tests and procedures may be used to determine the stomach cancer stage:
  • Certain assays
  • Chest x-ray
  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Laparoscopy
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan.
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