Stomach Cancer Detected by Endoscopy
Many patients don’t experience symptoms in the initial stages of stomach carcinoma. Doctors often diagnose stomach cancer at a later stage because it is difficult to detect. It is then more difficult to treat.
Johns Hopkins gastroenterologist Saowanee Nagamruengphong, MD explains how doctors examine the stomach lining and perform surgery without it being damaged. Endoscopic procedures are used to screen high-risk patients for this disease and help diagnose it earlier.
Screening for Stomach Cancer
There is no screening test that can detect early gastric cancer in the general populace. Ngamruengphong states that doctors use upper endoscopy in order to detect stomach cancer in patients at high risk.
There is no universal guideline for screening for stomach cancer. Therefore, we base our screening recommendations on the risk of developing this disease. She says that we decide how often patients should be screened based on the information we have.
Ngamruengphong takes into account these factors when identifying at-risk patient
- Ethnicity: Immigrants from East Asia, Russia, and South America are at higher risk. These areas are more likely to develop stomach cancer than the United States.
- Family history: A family member who has stomach cancer is at greater risk.
- Race: Non-Caucasians are more at risk.
- History of smoking: The risk of developing stomach cancer is increased by smoking.
- Genetics and physical health – Certain types of gastric infected and hereditary conditions, like Lynch syndrome or Peutz-Jeghers Syndrome, can increase stomach cancer risk.
Diagnosing Stomach Cancer
Ngamruengphong believes upper Endoscopy is the best test to diagnose stomach cancer.
During an upper endoscopy procedure
- The general sedation is administered to the patients so that they feel no pain and are completely asleep during the procedure.
- A doctor guides a tube with a camera attached at the end down the mouth, through esophagus, and to the stomach.
- The doctor inspects the stomach and lining of the stomach as the scope moves. He or she will also examine any areas suspected to be cancerous.
Why is endoscopy so effective?
It can be difficult, even with an endoscope to differentiate cancerous lesions from healthy stomach tissue.
Ngamruengphong explains: “When we do a screening endoscopy we don’t see large masses when cancer is present. We often see very subtle, small lesions.
This screening tool is more effective for doctors who have extensive experience in diagnosing stomach cancer. Doctors can now detect cancer earlier thanks to the use of modern endoscopic technology, such as high-quality images or dyes.
Combining the expertise of doctors with modern technology advances, people can be diagnosed and treated earlier. The greater the chance of a successful outcome, the earlier cancer treatment is done.