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Sunday, May 11, 2008

Further tests for stomach cancer

If the tests show that you do have cancer of the stomach, your doctor may want to do some more tests to see if the cancer has spread outside the stomach or to other parts of the body.

CT (computerised tomography) scan

A CT scanner takes a series of x-rays which build up a three-dimensional picture of the inside of the body. The scan is painless but takes longer than an x-ray (10–30 minutes). It may be used to find exactly where the tumour is, or to check for any spread of the disease.

A CT scan
A CT scan

Most people who have a CT scan are given a drink or injection to allow particular areas to be seen more clearly. For a few minutes this may make you feel hot all over. Before having the injection or drink, it is important to tell your doctor and the person doing the scan if you are allergic to iodine or have asthma. If you are allergic or have asthma you may need to have steroids on the day before and the day of the scan. You will probably be able to go home as soon as the scan is over.

Ultrasound scan

Ultrasound measures the size and position of a tumour and is done in the hospital scanning department. It is painless and only takes a few minutes.

Once you are lying comfortably on your back, a gel is spread onto your abdomen. A small device which produces sound waves is then passed over the area. The sound waves make up a picture of the stomach and liver, which can be seen on a computer screen.

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