Gastric Cancer Diagnosis

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Majority of the gastric cancers or stomach cancers begins in the inner lining of the stomach (mucosa). This form of gastric cancer is termed as adenocarcinomas. In the initial stage, a tumor may develop in the inner wall of your stomach, which further spreads into the nearby areas of the original site. Gastric cancer diagnosis in the initial stage helps to avoid the further spread of this disease. Over the time, these cancer cells keep on spreading in to other body parts by damaging them.

Gastric cancer cells start to spread into the adjoining lymph nodes, and may invade other nearby organs such as the liver, spleen, pancreases and colon. These cancer cells get spread through the lymph nodes that connect these organs. After developing into the wall of the stomach, these cancer cells spread into the inner wall of the abdomen, the peritoneum and some other organs that are present in the abdominal cavity. In the metastasis stage, your cancer may enter into the bloodstream and thus gets spreads in to the distant organs. Cancer cells multiply and spread rapidly.

Diagnosis of Gastric Cancer:

If you undergo any abnormal signs that indicates development of cancer, visiting a doctor and getting it diagnosed becomes essential. Gastric cancer diagnosis through doctor can help you get confirmation of your medical condition. Your physician may suggest you to visit a gastroenterologist (a professional or specialist who deals with the diagnosis and treatment related to the issues of digestive system).

In order to start with your gastric cancer diagnosis, your doctor will initially ask you for your medical, personal and family history. Diagnosing a gastric cancer involves various tests and exams.

  • Physical exam: This test involves the physical checkup of your body. In this test, your doctor will check the swelling, fluid changes and some other alterations in your abdomen. Doctors can detect the presence of swollen lymph nodes in your stomach.

  • Biopsy: Sample of your stomach tissue is taken with the help of the endoscope (a tool, used to remove the tissue). In order to the see the presence of cancer cells in the taken sample of tissue, it is kept under the microscope. Biopsy is the ideal method to detect the presence of cancer cells.

  • CBC (complete blood count): This is a simple blood test which is used to count the number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets in your body.

  • Fecal occult blood test: This test involves the detection of microscopic blood traces in the stool, which signifies the presence of gastric cancer, stomach cancer, gastrointestinal cancer or colorectal cancer.

  • Endoscopy: A thin, light tube (endoscope) is inserted in your stomach to see the presence of cancer cells. In this process, firstly your throat is made numb with the help of an anesthetic spray. The tube is induced through the mouth into the abdomen. Your doctor may also give you a medicine that can help you relax.

  • Gastroscopy : A tool which contains a thin lighted tube with camera is inserted into the stomach through the mouth and esophagus. This tool is called as gastroscope. To get a sample of tissue from the stomach, a small instrument is inserted via gastroscope. This sample is taken for biopsy in a laboratory. A local anesthesia can be used to reduce the pain or sensation in the esophagus during this examination.

  • Upper GI series : In this process, the patient may be asked to swallow barium. The patient is asked to drink a chalky semi liquid substance (barium) that covers the stomach and esophagus. This helps your doctor to detect the abnormal locations on the X-ray. This procedure may also carry out by using double-contrast barium swallow. In this process, air is blown in to the stomach and esophagus to ease the liquid cover the wall of the organs more easily.

  • Imaging tests: Certain imaging test such as ultrasound, CT scan (computerized tomography) and PET (positron emission tomography) may be used to find the cancer cells in your stomach.

Once, the procedure of diagnosis is finished, process of staging begins. Gastric cancer diagnosis can be performed by using any of these procedures. If one is not helpful to give the results, your doctor may prefer a combination of two examinations.

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