If your healthcare provider believes you may have signs of stomach cancer, you will need certain exams and tests to be sure. You should expect to be asked questions about your health history, your symptoms, risk factors and family history of disease. Understanding your background will help your provider make a diagnosis.
He or she will also give you a physical exam, including an exam of the stomach and gastrointestinal system. You may have one or more of the following tests.
A blood test can determine whether you have low levels of red or white blood cells, which can indicate stomach cancer.
- Computed tomography (CT). During this imaging test, X-rays create cross-sectional images of the stomach and digestive system.
- Positron emission testing (PET) scan. A medication called a biotracer to show the metabolic activity that can indicate disease is present.
- Ultrasound. An ultrasound uses painless sound waves to create images of the internal organs.
Lab tests can check your blood and help rule out other conditions that cause symptoms similar to stomach cancer.
This is the definitive test for diagnosing stomach cancer. In most cases, a thin flexible tube (endoscope) is inserted into the mouth and guided to the stomach. A sample of suspicious stomach cells is removed through the scope. These cells are then studied to determine whether cancer is present.
Patients will be contacted after a biopsy by a Markey team member to review results. Further management will be recommended at that time.
When you are diagnosed with stomach cancer, it is common to feel a sense of urgency around starting treatment. However, in most cases, there is time to do the needed research to ensure that your diagnosis is correct. That may include getting a second opinion.
Our team of experts works together to diagnose, treat and prevent stomach cancer, with a focus on individualized patient care.
Markey is among the best cancer centers in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report, when it comes to advanced treatment options, survival rates and experienced providers. As the first and only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center in Kentucky, Markey is able to serve many patients each year with rare and common cancers, including stomach cancer.
Our specialized team is happy to work with your doctors and communicate to ensure confidence in your diagnosis.
Should I get a second opinion?
A second opinion can help to ensure that you will be getting the latest and most effective therapy for treating stomach cancer. The following are common reasons for seeking a second opinion after your initial diagnosis:
- You are having difficulty understanding your diagnosis.
- A dedicated team specialized in your cancer type may not be available in your area.
- There may be uncertainty around the stage of stomach cancer.
- You may want to learn more about different treatment options, including clinical trials and advanced technologies only available at an advanced center like Markey.
- Your health insurance requires a second opinion before continuing toward treatment.
Questions to ask when getting a second opinion
After receiving a cancer diagnosis, you may have a lot on your mind. Here a few questions to keep in mind for your doctor when seeking a second opinion:
- Is there a chance that my medical problem could have a different diagnosis?
- Are there additional tests I should take before moving forward with treatment?
- Do you recommend any treatments at this time?
- What do you expect to happen if I wait or don't have the treatment?
- What are the side effects of treatment?
- How long are treatment recovery periods?