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Stomach Cancer - Diagnosis

Tests and procedures used to diagnose stomach cancer include: 

  • Upper endoscopy or gastroscopy
    During the procedure, an endoscope (a thin fibre-optic tube containing a small camera) is passed through the mouth and down the throat to check for abnormal areas in the oesophagus, stomach and duodenum. 
  • Biopsy
    If any suspicious areas are discovered during the endoscopy, a tissue sample may be taken and sent to the lab for testing and analysis. 
  • Barium meal X-ray
    The patient will be given a liquid containing barium to swallow, this outlines the stomach wall to help locate any tumours or abnormal areas. X-rays of the oesophagus and stomach will then be taken. 
  • Faecal occult blood test
    A lab test performed to determine the presence or absence of hidden (occult) blood in the stool. 

If stomach cancer is diagnosed, further tests may be required to determine if the cancer has spread and to determine the stage of the cancer. Some of the tests include:

  • Computerised Tomography (CT) Scan
    A CT scan is a type of scan where x-ray beams are rotated around the body to produce a series of x-ray images photographed from different angles. A CT scan is able to show the stomach clearly to confirm the location of the cancer. This test can also be used to look for cancer that has spread to the lymph nodes, liver or abdomen. 
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan
    Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan uses radiation to produce 3-D images of the body. Due to the unique characteristics of stomach cancer, PET scan may not be able to detect certain types of stomach cancer. 
  • Exploratory surgery
    Exploratory surgery may be recommended to look for signs that the cancer has spread beyond the stomach. This is usually performed laparoscopically (via key-hole surgery), where several small incisions are made and a special camera is inserted into the abdominal cavity to check for the spread of the cancer.
The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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