Ways Of Diagnosing Stomach Cancer Include:
Upper GI series
Also called barium swallow, this test examines the organs of the upper part of the digestive system: the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum .
A fluid called barium a metallic, chemical, chalky, liquid used to coat the inside of organs so that they will show up on an X-ray is swallowed. X-rays are then taken to evaluate the digestive organs.
Also called EGD or upper endoscopy, this procedure allows us to examine the inside of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. A thin, flexible, lighted tube, called an endoscope, is guided into the mouth and throat, then into the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. The endoscope allows us to view the inside of this area of your body, as well as to insert instruments through a scope for the removal of a sample of tissue for biopsy .
This imaging technique uses sound waves to create a computer image of the wall of the esophagus and stomach, as well as nearby lymph nodes. A small transducer that emits sound waves and receives their echoes is placed on the tip of an endoscope. The endoscope is guided into the mouth and throat, then into the esophagus and the stomach so that we can see the inside of this area of the body, as well as insert instruments to remove a sample of tissue for biopsy.
Computed tomography scan
Fecal occult blood test
What Is Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, occurs when normal healthy cells are replaced by growing cancer cells within the stomach lining. The stomach is located directly below the esophagus, the tube that food moves through to get to the intestines after swallowing. The stomach is one part of the digestive tract that digests food and moves nutrients through the gut to the small intestine.
Since this type of cancer is typically slow-growing, it can take years to develop. Stomach cancer often starts when cells that were once healthy begin growing out of control in the mucosa of the stomach lining. This collection of cancerous cells is known as a tumor, and over time these cells spread into other layers of the stomach.
Signs And Symptoms Of Stomach Cancer
Doru Paul, MD, is triple board-certified in medical oncology, hematology, and internal medicine. He is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and attending physician in the Department of Hematology and Oncology at the New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center.
The signs and symptoms of stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, range from blood in the stool to abdominal pain. Oftentimes, however, stomach cancer does not have symptoms, particularly in the early stages, or the symptoms may be non-specific and easily mistaken for other conditions.
Symptoms alone cannot diagnose stomach cancer. Only an investigation by a healthcare provider, which may involve imaging studies and a biopsy, can definitively diagnose the disease.
Although the signs can often be vague, there are seven symptoms commonly experienced in people with stomach cancer.
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How Can You Detect Stomach Cancer Early
Be sure to contact your medical provider if you feel like something is not right. There are screening tests for stomach cancer when people are at risk for or are experiencing signs and symptoms. Diagnostic evaluations for gastric cancer include:
- Complete medical history and physical exam
- Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy to view the esophagus, stomach and small intestine after sedation. A small, flexible tube is inserted into the mouth with a tiny camera on the end that allows the doctor to see inside your stomach.
- Biopsy of stomach tissue to be evaluated under a microscope
- CT scan to visualize organs during X-ray
- Endoscopic ultrasound to diagnose and treat stomach cancer at the same time by visualizing organs and nearby blood vessels
- Positron emission tomography scan to illuminate cancer cells. A radioactive sugar tracer is used because cancer cells use more sugar than healthy cells and the tracer illuminates the cancer cells.
Early Symptoms Are Commonlyoverlooked
Early stomach cancer symptoms are typically so unremarkable that they go completely unnoticed.
Stomach cancer is one of those tricky diagnoses where most people may have retrospectively felt symptoms, but theyre usually vague symptoms that can be confused with many other benign gastrointestinal disorders.
Some of these early symptoms include:
- A general feeling of discomfort.
Because these symptoms tend to be dismissed as normal GI issues and they are for most people when stomach cancer is finally diagnosed, its often in the advanced stages.
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Be Careful With Dairy
Chemo and radiation have been known to prevent the small intestine from producing enough of the bodys required enzyme lactase, which can lead to bloating, gassiness, cramping or diarrhea when foods with lactose are eaten. For gentler dairy choices, consider probiotic-rich foods that improve digestion, such as unsweetened yogurt and kefir, with fresh fruit or nuts added for flavor and texture.
When Should I Be Worried About Abdominal Bloating
See your healthcare provider if your bloated stomach:
- Gets progressively worse.
- Persists for more than a week.
- Is persistently painful.
- Comes with symptoms of illness, such as fever, vomiting or bleeding.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
A bloated stomach is not a pleasant feeling. While its a common experience and usually temporary, you may become weary of the cycle. Spending a little focused attention on the problem to identify the cause can be well worthwhile. Try recording your symptoms and possible triggers in a journal. Note diet, hormonal and stress factors. When in doubt bring your notes to a specialist for professional guidance. The different factors that contribute to bloating can be complex and difficult to parse, but medical testing can help. As always, seek medical attention if your symptoms are persistent or severe.
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Testing For Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer is usually discovered when someone goes to the doctor after noticing some of the symptoms shared above. To confirm the diagnosis, the following tests can be administered:
- Upper endoscopy
- Computed tomography scan
- Magnetic resonance imaging scan
- Positron emission tomography scan
- Chest X-ray
When Is Bloating A Sign Of Something Serious
Mild or occasional bloating may not be a cause for concern. However, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor if the bloating occurs often, gets worse, occurs with other ovarian cancer symptoms, or doesnt respond to anti-bloating treatments.
When bloating is caused by less serious conditions, it tends to come and go depending on things like diet or menstrual cycle. Bloating caused by ovarian cancer tends to be persistent it never goes away, or it happens multiple times per week. If you experience abdominal bloating for three weeks or more, or more than 12 times per month, it is a good time to see your doctor. Additionally, it is a good idea to seek medical care if your bloating becomes more severe over time.
If you have ovarian cancer, you may also have other symptoms. The most common symptoms besides bloating are:
- Belly pain or lower back pain
- Feeling a lump in the belly
- Needing to urinate more often
- Feeling like you need to urinate right away
Other symptoms include tiredness, nausea, constipation, changes in your period, and pain while having sex. If you notice any symptoms or signs of ovarian cancer, tell your doctor what you are experiencing.
Certain steps may help prevent or treat bloating if it is caused by gastrointestinal conditions. Treatments include:
- Eating fewer gas-producing foods
- Avoiding chewing gum and carbonated drinks
- Taking laxatives
- Exercising more
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Feeling And Being Sick
Stomach cancer can cause a blockage in the stomach. This stops food from passing through your digestive symptom which can make you feel or be sick.
Rarely, there is blood in the vomit. You may not be able to see any blood if it is small amounts. The blood might be bright red, which means it is fresh bleeding. Or it may look dark brown, like used coffee grounds, if the blood has been in the stomach for a while.
Having Another Type Of Cancer
For men, the risk of getting stomach cancer is increased after having prostate cancer, bladder cancer, breast cancer or testicular cancer. For women, the risk of developing stomach cancer increases after having ovarian cancer, breast cancer or cervical cancer.
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After Gastric Cancer Has Been Diagnosed Tests Are Done To Find Out If Cancer Cells Have Spread Within The Stomach Or To Other Parts Of The Body
The process used to find out if cancer has spread within the stomach or to otherparts of the body is called staging. The information gathered from thestaging process determines the stage of the disease. It is important to knowthe stage in order to plan treatment.
The following tests andprocedures may be used in the staging process:
When To Seek Help
According to the NHS, if you recognise one or more of the symptoms of bowel cancer or if your bloating symptoms persist, consult your GP to rule out a more serious condition.
In most cases, however, simple lifestyle adjustments should help to alleviate your bloating.
If you get constipation, for example, take steps to prevent it by adding more fibre to your diet, drinking lots of fluids and exercising regularly, advises the NHS.
Even a 20 to 30 minute brisk walk four times a week can improve your bowel function, explains the health body.
It is also worth keeping a food diary as this can help to determine whether your bloating is caused by a food intolerance.
The best approach if you have a food intolerance is to eat less of the problem food or cut it out completely, adds the NHS.
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What Are The Different Stages Of Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer is staged based on the severity of cancerous cell growth and spread. Adenocarcinoma is initially evaluated by the tumor, node metastasis system.
- T: How deeply has the tumor spread into the stomach wall?
- N: Has the stomach cancer spread to the lymph nodes?
- M: Has the stomach cancer spread to other parts of the body?
After the TNM staging information has been taken into account, the cancer is staged at 0 or 1 to 4. Tumor classifications for staging are as follows:
- Stage 0 is early cancer on the surface of the stomach lining.
- Stage 1A or 1B
- Stage 2A or 2B, commonly with deeper stomach wall involved
- Stage 3A or 3B or 3C, commonly with lymph node involvement
- Stage 4 means cancer has metastasized elsewhere in the body outside of the stomach.
Early Signs Of Ovarian Cancer
Don’t ignore these potential early symptoms
Weve long considered ovarian cancer a silent killer with few, if any, early symptoms. However, it turns out ovarian cancer may not be as stealthy as we once thought. There are, in fact, some early signs of the disease that are important to recognize.
Why is it so crucial? The unfortunate reality is that more than 70% of women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed when the cancer is more advanced and has a poorer prognosis.
- The five-year survival rate for early-stage ovarian cancer is about 80% to 90%.
- The five-year survival rate for advanced-stage ovarian cancer varies from about 28% to 40%.
Women tend to ignore early signs of ovarian cancer or think their symptoms are simply related to aging, weight gain or other less serious problems, says Amina Ahmed, MD, a gynecologic oncologist at Rush. Thats what makes ovarian cancer so difficult to detect early, when it is most curable.
Taking symptoms of ovarian cancer seriously is also important because there is currently no screening method for ovarian cancer for women who do not have symptoms and do not have a family history or BRCA genetic mutations .
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Causes Of Gas And Bloating
Are you having an upset stomach that gets you down? Bloating, constipation, gas, or other bathroom problems are a common constant battle for many people.
In other words, these symptoms are common. Mostly, they are caused by the breakdown of food or swallowed air through digestion.
The good news, these are usually mild condition and even many times will improve naturally with some lifestyle measures. For instance, typically these abdominal discomforts are related to your diet.
Most of us know well that some foods can trigger gas and bloating, particularly true if you eat them too much.
Moreover, certain lactose and fructose in some fruits and dairy products may trigger diarrhea or even abdominal cramps. Especially for people who are more sensitive to these sugars.
The bad news, there are some health conditions that may be the culprit. Gas and bloating can be vogue because they can pinpoint numerous different health conditions.
If the excess gas doesnt improve, it may build up in the intestines and stomach as a result you can have abdominal pain. Having a bowel movement or passing gas is usually natural cures to improve the problem.
The following are some common factors /conditions that can lead to these symptoms:
How To Get Rid Of A Bloated Stomach
One of the most effective bloated stomach remedies is improving your diet, since the foods you eat play a huge part in regulating how much air and poop is trapped inside your digestive tract.
To keep things flowing smoothly, you want to make sure to eat a high-fiber diet, aiming for about 2530 grams every day or even more.
This isnt too difficult when you eat plenty of whole foods, including veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and ancient grains. It can certainly help you to track your symptoms after eating certain foods known to cause bloating, but remember that a bloated stomach is caused by your entire lifestyle, not just the food on your plate.
Some of the best foods for helping to battle stomach bloating include:
Now that you know what you should eat, lets look at some of the foods that might make your bloating even worse. More often than not, some of these foods might be the culprit:
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Small Intestinal Bowel Overgrowth
- Abdominal pain
Small intestinal bowel overgrowth is when theres an abnormal increase in the bacteria that live in your small intestine, such as E. coli or Klebsiella.
Several things can lead to SIBO. Surgery of the intestines that changes your anatomy can cause it. Decreased motility of the small intestine caused by IBS, diabetes, or opioid drugs can also cause SIBO. And people who have a weakened immune system have a higher risk of SIBO.
SIBO can interfere with your bodys ability to absorb nutrients from your food, which can lead to vitamin deficiencies.
SIBO can be diagnosed using a non-invasive carbohydrate breath test. Your doctor may also recommend an endoscopy and colonoscopy to rule out other diseases.
Treatment may include dietary changes, nutritional supplements, and antibiotics to control bacterial overgrowth.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
As noted earlier, the symptom of abdominal bloating is most commonly caused by conditions that are more of a nuisance than life-threatening. That said, it is often the first symptom of ovarian cancer which is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths in women and often diagnosed when it is “too late,” at least to be curable.
Whether your symptoms are due to a “serious” cause or not, it is important to see your healthcare provider. So-called “nuisance symptoms” can interfere with your quality of life, and by that measure, are not just a nuisance.
If your symptoms do not improve with whatever treatment is recommended, talk to your healthcare provider or seek out a second opinion. In our overworked, over-busy society, it’s important to be your own advocate in your medical care, no matter what your symptoms or the condition that is responsible.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Gastrointestinal Carcinoid Tumors
Most gastrointestinal carcinoids grow slowly. If they do cause symptoms, they tend to be vague. When trying to figure out whats going on, doctors and patients are likely to explore other, more common possible causes first. This can delay a diagnosis, sometimes even for several years. But some do cause symptoms that lead to their diagnosis.
Diagnosis Of Stomach Cancer
If your doctor thinks you may have stomach cancer, you will be referred for further tests. The main test is an endoscopy . The doctor will use a thin, flexible tube with a camera , which passes into the mouth, down the throat and oesophagus into the stomach in order to look at the digestive tract.
If any suspicious-looking areas are detected, a small amount of tissue from the stomach lining may be removed and examined under a microscope. Less commonly used is an endoscopic ultrasound where the endoscope has an ultrasound probe at the end.
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