Screening and Diagnosis of Stomach Cancer

Previously, we took a look at the occurrence and progression of stomach cancer. Today, we will be discussing the screening and diagnosis of stomach cancer. Cancer Institute Hospital of JFCR is close to Ariake Station in Tokyo and recognized for their impressive number of quality surgeries. They perform over 2,000 Gastroenterological surgeries each year.

How is stomach cancer screened and diagnosed?  Here is a rundown of the major diagnostic procedures in Japan.

Screening and diagnosis

In Japan, the following screenings are conducted to diagnose stomach cancer.

1. Abdominal X-ray

In Japan, this is the most common way to screen for stomach cancer. Patients swallow barium, which allows the doctor to screen their abdomen. If it is suspected that the patient has cancer, a more thorough checkup will be recommended. At a hospital, patients are offered an even more detailed x-ray scan that can determine, with precision, the extent to which cancer has spread inside the stomach.

2. Endoscopy

If it is suspected that the patient has stomach cancer, endoscopy is used to collect tissue samples from the direct source of discomfort or pain inside the stomach. The tissue is then examined to reach a conclusive diagnosis. Endoscopy is also used before surgery to mark areas that need to be removed.

3. Endoscopic ultrasound

Once a patient has been diagnosed with stomach cancer, an endoscopic ultrasound is conducted to determine the progression of the cancer. It is also a useful procedure for patients who choose to receive therapeutic endoscopy (treatment with an endoscope) instead of surgery.

4. Abdominal ultrasound and abdominal CT scan

Both of these types of screening involve examining the areas around the stomach rather than the stomach itself. They look for abnormalities in the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas, as well as their correlation with stomach cancer. They also examine lymph nodes close to or in the vicinity of the stomach.

5. Enema and colonoscopy

Following a diagnosis of stomach cancer, these procedures are conducted prior to surgery. Examining the large intestine can reveal abnormalities—and their correlation to stomach cancer—as well as the dissemination of the cancer to the peritoneum (abdominal membrane).

6. PET scan

To conduct a PET scan, a form of radioactive sugar called fluorodeoxyglucose (18FDG) is injected into the patient. Since FDG accumulates in the tumor, the cancer can be detected during the scan. However, the drug also accumulates in healthy stomachs—making it unsuitable for assessing stomach cancer—and does not accumulate much at all in some forms of histological, or microscopic, stomach cancer (e.g. signet-ring cell cancer). It is, therefore, mainly suitable for finding histological stomach cancers such as papillary adenocarcinoma and tubular cancer in which FDG does accumulate, and which have disseminated far from the stomach via para-aortic (or lumbar) lymph node metastasis.

Related Links: 

Cancer Institute Hospital of JFCR

Founded in 1934 and has the longest history of any hospital in Japan specializing in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

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