Gastric cancer, also termed as stomach cancer, is a form of cancer which starts in the cells of the stomach’s wall. Gastric cancer has five stages, Stage 0 is the early stage and stage IV is the higher stage. The staging of cancer helps in deciding the proper course of treatment. The diagnosis of gastric cancer is done by various tests that scan the stomach and esophagus. The following tests are generally used for diagnosing cancer in the stomach:-

Physical examination:

A physical examination of the body to check for any visible symptoms, such as lumps or any other thing which seems unusual. A history of the patient’s past illnesses and their treatments shall also be considered.

Blood chemistry studies:

This is a method in which the patient’s blood sample is tested to measure the amounts of certain specific substances in the blood. A value higher or lower than the normal amount of any substance can indicate the presence of a disease.

Upper endoscopy:

It is a method to look inside the stomach, esophagus and duodenum to check for any abnormalities inside these organs. In this method, an endoscope- a thin, lighted tube- is passed into the esophagus through the mouth and the throat.

Biopsy:

This test involves the removal of cells or tissues from the cancer-affected organ, so that they can be examined under a microscope to check for any signs or symptoms of cancer. A biopsy of the stomach is generally done during endoscopy.

Fecal occult blood test: This is a test to check the patient’s stool for any signs of blood, which can be seen only with the help of a microscope. In this test, small samples of stool are kept on special cards and they are sent to a laboratory for testing.

CT scan or CAT scan:

This is a procedure which generates a series of detailed images of areas inside the body. The images can be taken from different angles. These images are generated by a computer which is connected to an x-ray machine. For this test, a dye is injected into the patient’s vein or is given to the patient to swallow, which helps in making the organs inside the body appear more clearly visible.