Detection & Diagnosis

As is the case with all types of cancer, prevention is the most effective method to ensure long-term cancer-free survival. Successful treatment and long-term survival is associated with earlier diagnosis and proper treatment.

Early Detection of Stomach Cancer

The doctors at Columbia University Medical Center are dedicated to the early detection and curative treatment of patients with gastric cancer. If you or someone you know have any of the risk factors listed below or have abdominal symptoms for the past three months, please contact the Gastric Cancer Care Program of NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center at 212.305.0374 for a consultation to assess your risk of having or developing gastric cancer.

  1. History of or current infection with Helicobacter Pylori bacteria
  2. History of stomach ulcers, lesions or surgery
  3. History of pernicious anemia
  4. Diet high in salt or preserved foods, such as smoked fish or pickled vegetables
  5. Asian American or South American immigrant or descent
  6. Persistent abdominal symptoms for past three months

Other Conditions

  • Family cancer syndromes, such as hereditary nonpolyopsis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) and Li Fraumeni Syndrome, which increase risk of colorectal cancer and slightly increase stomach cancer risk
  • Family history of stomach cancer
  • Family history of breast cancer; people carrying mutations of the inherited genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 may also have a higher rate of stomach cancer

During the consultation, your physician will determine whether or not you will require simple blood work, endoscopic evaluation by a gastroenterologist or other imaging studies.

Diagnosing Gastric Cancer

All evaluation for patients who come to our Gastric Cancer Center includes:

  • A thorough evaluation of medical history including determination of exposure to risk factors.
  • Review of all relevant exams previously performed.
  • Complete physical exam.

Diagnostic test of choice for gastric cancer is an upper endoscopy, or an esophagogastroduodenscopy.

  • While you are under sedation, a small tube with a light and camera is inserted into the mouth and directed into the stomach.
  • The doctors can examine the inner lining of the stomach and identify abnormal areas.
  • The areas can be biopsied and evaluated for presence or absence of cancer or precancerous conditions.

Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)

  • Sometimes performed to determine the depth of the ulceration or tumor.
  • Some patients may be eligible for nonsurgical removal of their tumor. See Gastric Cancer treatment section.

Once you are confirmed to have gastric cancer, other diagnostic tools may be used to determine the extent of your cancer:

  • CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis.
  • PET scan.
Read More: How is Gastric Cancer Diagnosed?