Diagnosis

Some gastrointestinal (GI) cancers can be hard to detect; others have symptoms that can provide clues of a tumor. Common symptoms may include:

  • Weight loss for no known reason
  • Loss of appetite or feelings of fullness after eating a small meal
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain or discomfort in the abdomen
  • Fatigue or weakness

However, these symptoms can also be signs of conditions other than cancer. Be sure to consult your health care provider if you experience these symptoms.

Your doctor may order one or more of these tests to determine if you may have gastrointestinal cancer:

  • Upper GI series and Barium swallow, a series of X-rays of the esophagus
  • Endoscopy — including upper endoscopy, endoscopic ultrasound, bronchoscopy, thoracoscopy, and laparoscopy — which allow doctors to examine inside and around the body organ for signs of cancer. Biopsies can be taken during these procedures, if needed.
  • Imaging tests including CT, MRI, and/or PET scan of the neck, chest, and abdomen to help identify if the cancer has spread to other organs in the body
  • Blood chemistry study
  • Tumor marker test, checking the level of certain substances linked to cancer in samples of blood, urine, or tissue
  • Biopsies of tissue, the removal of cells or tissues so they can be viewed under a microscope to check for signs of cancer

If you have GI cancer, we use advanced imaging tools to determine the stage of your cancer and help us plan further treatment. We offer several treatment options for GI cancer.

Learn More About Specific GI Cancers

Get additional information about symptoms and diagnosis for:

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Contact Us

Our cancer team is here for you. Our cancer specialists have access to nationally recognized cancer care protocols and best practices, since Premier Health is a certified member of MD Anderson Cancer Network®, a program of MD Anderson Cancer Center. Our patients benefit from advanced local care backed by the world-renowned expertise of the nation’s leading cancer center. 

Call the Premier Health cancer hotline at (844) 316-HOPE(844) 316-4673 (4673), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to connect with a Premier Health cancer navigator.