If doctors suspect stomach cancer, they will usually refer the patient to a gastroenterologist who specializes in digestive problems. Gastroenterologists usually start by asking new patients about symptoms that seem worrying, as well as questions about their family medical history.
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After a thorough physical examination, which may include a taste of fluid in the abdomen, swelling, swollen lymph nodes, or abnormalities, a blood test may be done along with other laboratory tests. These tests can include:
Endoscopy (Fiber Gastroscopy):
This is where a thin light tube (endoscope) is inserted through the mouth (after the throat is numbed with anesthetic spray), esophagus, and stomach area. Endoscopy is able to detect early-stage gastric cancer as well as benign (non-cancerous) and malignant (cancerous) ulcers and various types of gastric cancer. An instrument is also connected to an endoscope, where a tissue sample can be taken from the stomach, which can then be analyzed.
Generally, early-stage X-rays can show whether cancer cells are confined to the lining (top layer of stomach cells) and submucosa (thin layer of muscle in the stomach under the lamina) of the propria (connective tissue). X-rays are widely used to diagnose various types of cancer.
Computed Tomography (CT Scan):
A widely used three-dimensional high-resolution image scanner that uses X-rays to create cross-sectional images of the patient's interior body shows whether the stomach wall has been attacked by cancer cells or not. A CT scan can also be used to show whether cancer has spread to the bloodstream.