Gastrointestinal Cancer: Diagnosis

To make a definitive way of diagnosis of most types of gastrointestinal cancers, a biopsy is preferred. If a biopsy is not possible, the doctor may suggest other tests that will help make a diagnosis. Imaging tests may be used to find out whether the cancer has spread. Early diagnosis of gastric cancer is difficult because most patients are asymptomatic in the early stage. Esophagogastroduodenoscopy is the preferred diagnostic modality for evaluation of patients in whom stomach cancer is suspected. This radiographic study provides preliminary information that may help the physician determine if a gastric lesion is present and whether the lesion has benign or malignant features.


The tests and scans you have when diagnosing your cancer gives information about the clinical stage. During surgery the doctor finds out more about the stage. The tissue the surgeon removes, including the lymph nodes, is carefully examined in the laboratory. These results are combined with the clinical stage to give a pathological stage. This is more accurate than the clinical stage. The pathological stage may be different to the clinical stage

  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
  • Barium swallow
  • Laparoscopy

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Gastrointestinal Cancer: Diagnosis Conference Speakers