Techniques for Detecting Abdominal Cancer
For many, the questions surrounding abdominal cancer diagnosis and detection can be overwhelming. Ultrasound technology is one imaging test often included in this process. How effective is it at spotting stomach cancer, and what other techniques are available?
Can an Ultrasound Identify Stomach Cancer?
Ultrasound technology is quite helpful in diagnosing stomach cancer. This non-invasive procedure uses high-frequency sound waves to capture images of your internal organs. The images can reveal the presence of tumors and even provide insight into their nature and characteristics.
However, ultrasound images are not foolproof. This technology doesn’t always catch stomach cancer in its early stages, and it’s also most effective when combined with other tests.
What Technologies Complement Ultrasounds?
Your healthcare team may run several diagnostic tests to detect stomach cancer, including:
- Endoscopy: A slender tube equipped with a camera is threaded down your throat to view the inside of your stomach and collect tissue samples for biopsy.
- CT scan: Using X-rays, this test provides comprehensive images of your body, helping to determine whether the cancer has metastasized to other organs.
- MRI scan: Employing magnets and radio waves, an MRI creates detailed images of your internal organs.
- PET scan: Before the imaging, a small dose of radioactive material is injected into your body. A special camera then captures images that reveal if the cancer has spread.
- Upper GI series: For this test, you’ll drink a chalky liquid called barium to coat your digestive tract, making it visible on an X-ray.
What to Expect During an Ultrasound for Abdominal Cancer
So, your doctor has advised you to undergo an ultrasound. Here’s what to expect:
- Before the test: You’ll meet with your doctor to discuss any medications you’re taking and whether you should discontinue any before the test. You may also need to fast for several hours and remove jewelry and other metal objects from your body.
- During the test: A technician applies a special gel to your abdomen to enhance the ultrasound images. Then, a technician moves a handheld device called a transducer across your abdomen, converting sound waves into images on a screen for review.
- After the test: There’s usually no downtime following an ultrasound. You can expect results within days or weeks, depending on the complexity of the findings.
Early and Late-Stage Symptoms of Abdominal Cancer
Knowing what symptoms to look for can make a big difference. Early-stage abdominal cancer may cause:
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Difficulty swallowing
- Persistent bloating or feeling full quickly
- Unexpected loss of appetite
- Chronic indigestion or heartburn
Late-stage cancer may cause more advanced symptoms, such as:
- Significant loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blood in the stool
- Unplanned weight loss
Early Detection Matters
If you’re experiencing persistent symptoms or have a higher risk for abdominal cancer, seek medical guidance right away. Your condition could be as serious as cancer or as manageable as gastritis or ulcers. Either way, early detection is the key.
Visit Village Emergency Centers
For rapid, accurate diagnosis and 24/7 emergency care, look no further than Village Emergency Centers. Our six convenient locations across the Greater Houston Area, board-certified doctors, and in-network coverage make us the obvious choice. Find a Village near you today to experience exceptional healthcare with no wait times.