Gastric Cancer Diagnosis
If you experience gastric cancer
symptoms, your doctor will ask you questions about the characteristic of the symptoms and your medical history.
In addition, he will do a physical exam, looking for signs indicating the cancer: palpable mass in your stomach,
difficulty in swallowing, etc. However, small sized-tumors rarely cause symptoms. Symptoms start emerging when
the tumor has become large or metastatic, which makes the diagnosis of stomach cancer often
Even if there
are typical symptoms of gastric cancer, your doctor may not confirm the disease. In general, to confirm the
diagnosis, other more specific tests are needed: blood tests, gastroscopy, thoraco-abdominal-pelvic CT,
exploratory laparoscopy and biopsy.
Blood tests - your physician may collect sample of your blood for
laboratory analysis. Usually, a specialist will analyze appearance and content of your blood searching for
pathogenic signs. The lab specialist can detect tumor markers, such as carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) and
carbohydrate antigen (CA). This step allows your oncologist to evaluate your organ functions and detect
abnormalities that may indicate presence of a stomach cancer.
Gastroscopy – an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy allows you’re your
doctor to visualize the interior lining of your upper gastrointestinal: esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (the
first part of your small intestine). In addition, it allows your physician to take samples of stomach tissue to
examine under microscope in order to confirm the diagnosis. During the exam, a miniature camera (endoscope) will
be inserted through your mouth into your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. An upper gastrointestinal endoscopy can detect small tumors at early stage
and/or other lesions on the gastric mucosa.
Biopsy - It is necessary for your physician to perform a
histological examination of cells taken directly from your stomach lining. Biopsies must be multifaceted to
accurately confirm the diagnosis. The biopsy can be combined with an ultrasound to correctly identify the stage
of the cancer. The ultrasound can also help determine the location and extent of the tumor.