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Tests and Diagnosis for stomach cancer

Diagnosis is the process of finding the cause of a health problem. The process of diagnosis may seem long and frustrating, but it is important for the doctor to rule out other reasons for a health problem before making a cancer diagnosis. Diagnostic tests for stomach cancer are usually done when:

  • the symptoms of stomach cancer are present
  • the doctor suspects stomach cancer after talking with a person about their health and completing a physical examination

Many of the same tests used to initially diagnose cancer are also used to determine the stage (how far the cancer has progressed). Your doctor may also order other tests to check your general health and to help plan your treatment. Tests may include the following.

Medical history and physical examination

The medical history is a record of present symptoms, risk factors and all the medical events and problems a person has had in the past. The medical history of a person′s family may also help the doctor to diagnose stomach cancer.

 In taking a medical history, the doctor will ask questions about:

  • A personal history of
    • Helicobacter pylori(H. pylori) infection
    • stomach surgery
    • pernicious anemia
    • chronic inflammation of the stomach (gastritis)
    • working in the rubber industry
  • A family history of
    • stomach cancer
    • hereditary diffuse gastric cancer
    • rare genetic conditions
    • risk factors that may increase the risk of developing stomach cancer
    • other cancers
  • Signs and symptoms

A physical examination allows the doctor to look for any signs of stomach cancer. During a physical examination, the doctor may:

  • Feel the abdomen for
  • A lump
  • Enlarged organs, such as the liver
  • Fluid
  • Check the lymph nodes in the neck and around the armpit on the left side of the body

Complete blood count

A complete blood count (CBC) measures the number and quality of white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. A CBC is done to check for anemia, which might suggest that there is bleeding from the stomach.

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