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How Do They Diagnose Stomach Cancer

Certain Factors Affect Prognosis And Treatment Options

Diagnosis and Detection of Stomach Cancer

The prognosis and treatment options depend on the following:

  • The stage of the cancer .
  • The patients general health.

When gastric cancer is found very early, there is a better chance of recovery. Gastric cancer is often in an advanced stage when it is diagnosed. At later stages, gastric cancer can be treated but rarely can be cured. Taking part in one of the clinical trials being done to improve treatment should be considered. Information about ongoing clinical trials is available from the NCI website.

Diagnosing Stomach Cancer In Dogs

The diagnosis of any form of dog cancer starts with taking the dogs medical history and performing a thorough physical examination. Swelling of the abdomen and unexplained weight loss are two things the vet can spot during the exam that may indicate cancer.

However, for a more accurate diagnosis, the veterinarian will order additional tests such as blood tests , liver enzymes), diagnostic imaging , and biopsy.

An endoscopic biopsy is the gold standard for stomach cancer diagnosis and involves surgical excision of a tumor to obtain tissue samples. The tissue samples are then examined under a microscope to determine if they are cancerous.

The goals of these tests are to determine the presence of this rare cancer, its type, and whether it has spread to other areas of the body. If the disease is progressed, the vet may refer the patient to a veterinary oncologist.

How Is Stomach Cancer Diagnosed

Your provider will review your medical history, ask about your symptoms and perform a physical exam that may involve feeling for a mass in your stomach. They may order several tests to diagnose and stage stomach cancer.

Staging allows your provider to assess how much the cancer has spread. With stomach cancer, staging ranges from 0 to IV . Stage 0 means the cancer hasnt spread beyond your stomach lining. Stage IV means that its spread to other organs.

Providers dont screen for stomach cancer in the U.S. because its so rare. Still, if you have a condition that increases your risk, your provider may recommend regular procedures like an upper endoscopy to detect cancerous changes. Ask your provider about their recommendations based on your risk.

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Stomach Cancer Screening In People At Increased Risk

The benefits of screening might outweigh the risks in some people who are at increased risk for stomach cancer because they have certain risk factors . For example, upper endoscopy might be recommended at regular intervals in these people.

If you have risk factors that might increase your risk of stomach cancer, talk to your doctor about the possible pros and cons of stomach cancer screening for you.

Screening isn’t usually recommended for people in families with hereditary diffuse gastric cancer . Instead, doctors often recommend that people who have changes in the CDH1 gene that causes this syndrome consider having their stomach removed , because their risk of stomach cancer is very high.

Types Of Stomach Tumors In Dogs

Stomach Cancer

According to Blue Pearl Vet, the most common gastric tumor in dogs is adenocarcinoma. Although stomach cancer in dogs is not the most common type of canine cancer, it deserves attention. Below you will find a summary of different types of stomach tumors seen in dogs.

Malignant Stomach Tumors. The majority of stomach tumors in dogs are cancerous or malignant. This means they are invasive and have high metastasis rates. Therefore, in cases of gastric carcinoma, the prognosis is poor. Adenocarcinomas start in the glandular cells while leiomyosarcoma in the muscle layers of the stomach.

Benign Stomach Tumors. Benign gastric tumors are very rare in dogs. On their own, they are benign lesions but can still interfere with normal digestive function. As they grow in size, they can cause secondary signs and symptoms like vomiting and stomach ulcers. In rare cases, benign tumors can grow large enough to obstruct the stomach.

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Can You Feel A Tumor In Your Stomach

Your provider may be able to feel a mass in your stomach during a physical exam depending on how advanced the cancer is. More often, however, symptoms involve recognizing sensations in your stomach. Your stomach may frequently feel swollen, full or painful. The pain may start as mild and then get more intense as the disease progresses.

Does Stomach Cancer Affect Men And Women Differently

It is important to look for signs of stomach cancer in adults over the age of 55. However, it most commonly affects those in their 60s or 70s. While it is crucial to be aware of the signs of stomach cancer in females, men are more likely to develop stomach cancer. In 2020, 16,980 men and 10,620 women are projected to be diagnosed with the disease. Men have a lifetime risk of 1 in 95 of developing stomach cancer, while women have a 1 in 154 risk. The signs of stomach cancer in men are typically no different than in women.

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Surgery To Ease Your Symptoms

If your stomach cancer has spread beyond your stomach, it may not be possible to remove it using surgery.

However, if your stomach has been significantly affected by cancer it can cause a blockage, which prevents food from being properly digested. A blocked stomach can cause symptoms such as stomach pain, vomiting and feeling very full after eating.

If your stomach is blocked, there are a few options:

  • stenting a stent is a plastic or wire mesh tube inserted through the oesophagus using an endoscope under local anaesthetic after being inserted, the stent will be expanded and open up the stomach
  • partial or total gastrectomy to remove the blockage and improve your symptoms

Upper Endoscopy With Biopsy

Symptoms of Stomach Cancer

When doctors suspect stomach cancer, they may perform an upper endoscopy, which allows them to view the lining of the stomach. During this procedure, a doctor inserts an endoscopea thin, lighted tube with a tiny camera on the endinto the nose or mouth, through the esophagus, and into the stomach, as well as the first part of the small intestine. The procedure is performed using a sedative.

When the lining of the stomach looks suspicious, your doctor may perform a biopsy. This involves inserting small surgical tools through the endoscope to remove tissue samples to check for signs of cancer. A pathologist, a doctor who studies diseases in a laboratory, examines the biopsy samples to determine whether a person has adenocarcinoma and, if so, how aggressive it is.

Doctors may also test the stomach cells for excessive amounts of a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 on their surface. This protein helps a cancer grow. Sometimes, people with HER2-positive cancer may be candidates for targeted drug therapy.

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Cancer May Spread From Where It Began To Other Parts Of The Body

When cancer spreads to another part of the body, it is called metastasis. Cancer cells break away from where they began and travel through the lymph system or blood.

  • Lymph system. The cancer gets into the lymph system, travels through the lymph vessels, and forms a tumor in another part of the body.
  • Blood. The cancer gets into the blood, travels through the blood vessels, and forms a tumor in another part of the body.

The metastatic tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if gastric cancer spreads to the liver, the cancer cells in the liver are actually gastric cancer cells. The disease is metastatic gastric cancer, not liver cancer.

What Is The Prognosis For People Who Have Stomach Cancer

The outlook for stomach cancer depends on the stage of cancer. People in the early stages of stomach cancer have a much better prognosis than those at a later stage. The 5-year survival rate for stomach cancer may be as high as 70% or as low as 6% .

Speak with your provider for a more accurate assessment of your prognosis. The type of cancer you have, its spread, your health and how your cancer responds to treatment all shape your prognosis.

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How Cancer Is Diagnosed

X-rays use low doses of radiation to create pictures of the inside of your body.

If you have a symptom or a screening test result that suggests cancer, your doctor must find out whether it is due to cancer or some other cause. The doctor may start by asking about your personal and family medical history and do a physical exam. The doctor also may order lab tests, imaging tests , or other tests or procedures. You may also need a biopsy, which is often the only way to tell for sure if you have cancer.

This page covers tests that are often used to help diagnose cancer. Depending on the symptoms you have, you may have other tests, too. To learn more about how specific cancers are diagnosed, see the PDQ® cancer treatment summaries for adult and childhood cancers. These summaries include detailed information about and pictures of diagnostic tests and procedures for each specific type of cancer.

On This Page

How To Tell If Your Symptoms Are Serious

Gastric Cancer Specialist

Most of the time, these symptoms are caused by something else, but its best to get them checked out, so if you do need treatment, you can get it as soon as possible.

If you experience nausea, bloating, weight loss and lack of appetite, Dr. Joyce recommends you see your doctor for testing.

Other factors can increase your risk of developing stomach cancer, too, like:

  • Helicobacter pylori infection.
  • A diet high in smoked foods, salted fish and cured meats.
  • A family history.

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How Can I Prevent Stomach Cancer

You cant prevent stomach cancer, but you can reduce your risk if you:

  • Treat H. pylori infection if you test positive. H. pylori infection is a significant risk factor for developing stomach cancer.
  • Treat ulcers, gastritis and other stomach conditions promptly. Untreated stomach conditions, especially those caused by H. pylori bacteria, increase your risk of stomach cancer.
  • Eat healthy. Eating a healthy diet thats high in fruits and vegetables and low in salts and red meats can reduce your stomach cancer risk. Foods high in vitamin C, beta-carotene and carotenoids, such as citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables and carrots, are good sources of key nutrients.
  • Avoid smoking and using tobacco products. Tobacco use increases your risk of stomach cancer and many other cancers.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. What counts as a healthy weight varies from person to person. Ask your provider what a healthy weight means for you.

After A Diagnosis Of Stomach Cancer

After being diagnosed with a stomach cancer, you may feel shocked, upset, anxious or confused. These are normal responses. A diagnosis of a stomach or oesophageal cancer affects each person differently. For most it will be a difficult time, however some people manage to continue with their normal daily activities.

You may find it helpful to talk about your treatment options with your doctors, family and friends. Ask questions and seek as much information as you feel you need. It is up to you as to how involved you want to be in making decisions about your treatment.

Learn more about best stomach cancer care:

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How Is It Diagnosed

Since people with stomach cancer rarely show symptoms in the early stages, the disease is often not diagnosed until its more advanced.

Diagnosing stomach cancer involves receiving a physical exam to check for any abnormalities. A doctor may also look for possible bleeding in the stomach by using a test to check for blood in your stool along with a blood test to look for anemia.

More diagnostic tests for stomach cancer may need to be done if your doctor believes you show signs of the disease. Diagnostic tests specifically look for suspected tumors and other abnormalities in the stomach and esophagus. These tests may include:

What Is Cancer Staging

What are the early symptoms of gastric (stomach) cancer (by Joyce Bottomley)

Staging is a way of describing where the cancer is located, if or where it has spread, and whether it is affecting other parts of the body. Doctors use diagnostic tests to find out the cancer’s stage, so staging may not be complete until all of the tests are finished. Knowing the stage helps the doctor recommend the best kind of treatment, and it can help predict a patient’s prognosis, which is the chance of recovery.

There are different stage descriptions for different types of cancer. This section covers staging of adenocarcinoma, the most common type of stomach cancer. Staging is different for gastric lymphoma, sarcoma, and neuroendocrine tumors.

This page provides detailed information about how adenocarcinoma, the most common type of stomach cancer, is staged. It describes the systems used to find the stage and the stage groups, such as stage II or stage IV.

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Surgery To Remove Your Stomach

You may need to have part or all of your stomach removed.

Surgery to remove part of your stomach is known as a partial or sub-total gastrectomy, and surgery to remove all of your stomach is known as a total gastrectomy. In some cases, your surgeon may remove part of your oesophagus as well as all of your stomach, using a procedure known as an oesophagogastrectomy.

These operations may be carried out using either a large incision in your tummy , or a number of smaller incisions through which surgical tools can be passed . Both of these techniques are carried out under general anaesthetic, which means you’ll be unconscious throughout the procedure.

During these operations, your surgeon will also remove the lymph nodes nearest to the cancer. It’s possible that your stomach cancer may have spread to these lymph nodes, and removing them helps prevent the cancer returning.

What Causes Stomach Cancer In Dogs

The exact cause of stomach cancer in dogs is hard to determine. In most cases, cancer is triggered by a complex mix of risk factors. The following list explains the factors that affect the incidence of gastric carcinoma in dogs:

  • Age. Older dogs are more prone to stomach cancer than younger dogs. Studies suggest there is a higher incidence of stomach cancer in dogs ten years or older. Although more common in elderly dogs, stomach cancer can occur in all dogs.
  • Sex. Male dogs are at a higher risk of getting stomach cancer than female dogs. The exact reason gender plays an important role is not determined.
  • Breed. Certain breeds of dogs have a high risk of stomach cancer, including Chow chows, Rough Collies, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, German Shepherds, Belgian Shepherds, Belgian Tervuren, Bouvier des Flandres, Chow Chow, Beagles, and others.
  • Genetics. Most cancers have a genetic component which explains why certain breeds have a genetic predisposition to specific forms of cancer. Dogs whose parents had stomach cancer are more likely to get it as well. Cancer is the leading cause of death in certain dog breeds.
  • Lifestyle. A dogs quality of life largely influences its risk of acquiring chronic diseases, one of which is cancer. Diet, activity, and body weight are three of the factors that have been proven to affect disease risk. A diet high in nitrosamines has been linked to an increased risk of stomach cancer in humans and animals.

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Stomach Cancer Screening In People At Average Risk

No major medical organizations in the United States recommend routine screening for stomach cancer in people at average risk. This is largely because this disease isnt common in the US, so the benefits of screening most likely would not outweigh the possible harms .

Because routine screening for stomach cancer is not done in the United States, most people are not diagnosed with stomach cancer until they have certain signs and symptoms that point to the need for medical tests.

In some countries in East Asia and South America, where stomach cancer is much more common, mass screening of the population has helped find many stomach cancers at an early, possibly more curable stage. However, its not clear if this has led to a lower number of stomach cancer deaths.

What Is Stomach Cancer In Dogs


Stomach cancer in dogs is a tumor that develops as a result of the uncontrolled growth of cells in the stomach. When the normal cells in the stomach lining or muscle layer turn into cancerous ones, the result is stomach tumor formation.

The cancer cell growth in the stomach is also known as gastric carcinoma, gastric tumors, or canine gastric cancer. As with all tumors, stomach cancer in dogs can be benign or malignant. Malignant stomach cancer in dogs is more common and can spread to other parts of the body and sections of the gastrointestinal tract.

Signs and symptoms of stomach cancer in dogs usually become apparent in the advanced stages. For this reason, this form of dog cancer has a very poor prognosis and is known as a silent killer.

Compared to other cancers in the canine companion , stomach cancer is not a common type of cancer. It accounts for less than 1% of total canine cancer cases. Stomach cancer in dogs can take different forms such as gastric adenocarcinoma, leiomyosarcoma, lymphoma, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, mast cell tumors, extramedullary plasmacytoma, adenomatous polyps, etc.

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What Kind Of Doctor Treats Stomach Cancer

There is a team of specialists that cares for people with stomach cancer:

  • Gastroenterologist: a doctor who specializes in the stomach and intestines
  • Surgical oncologist: a doctor who surgically removes cancer tumors and cancerous cells
  • Medical oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with oral or systemic medication
  • Radiation oncologist: a doctor who specializes in treating cancer with radiation therapy
  • Pathologist: a doctor who evaluates cells, tissues and organs and performs other laboratory tests to diagnose disease
  • Radiologist: a doctor who uses imaging tests to diagnose disease

Depending on your condition and where you are in your treatment, you may meet with any one of these specialists at a given time.

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