At Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute, we get you a quick, accurate diagnosis. As soon as we confirm the diagnosis and the stage of the cancer, our highly experienced tumor board discusses personalized treatment recommendations for you.
Our top-notch physicians, surgeons, and medical oncologists work together to determine the most effective treatment plan. We discuss all the details of the plan with you and your family so you feel informed and confident about your care. Our whole-person approach includes robust support services such as support groups, palliative care, and cancer genetics.
At the Cancer Institute, our expert team provides quick and accurate diagnosis. You can expect the diagnosis process to be:
- Minimally invasive: Most of our diagnostic tests use sophisticated technology that keeps you as comfortable as possible. Many tests do not even require an incision.
- Expert: Our stomach cancer specialists use the latest research, so you receive the most precise diagnosis. A precise diagnosis helps us create a more effective treatment plan for you.
- Convenient: Most of our tests can often be done during one visit. We provide a quick turnaround time for results, to reduce your wait time.
Your physician will discuss your symptoms and conduct a physical exam. Then, we use diagnostic tests to diagnose the cancer and determine its stage. Staging refers to how advanced the cancer is and if it has spread (metastasized). We will keep you as comfortable as possible and discuss pain management options with you before the procedures.
Our advanced diagnostic tests include:
- Sedated endoscopy: This procedure uses a flexible tube with a light and camera to visually inspect your stomach. We pass the camera into the digestive tract through your mouth. If we see abnormal areas, we can easily take a tissue sample (biopsy) using instruments passed through the endoscope.
- Biopsy: As part of a standard endoscopy, we collect cells from the suspicious area. A specially trained physician, called a pathologist, examines the cells to determine if they are cancerous.
- Endoscopic mucosal resection: The physician inserts a flexible ultrasound tube into your mouth and down to your stomach. The ultrasound provides images that help us understand how large the tumor is and if it has grown into any surrounding tissue.
- Computed tomography (CT) scans: The technician takes multiple X-rays of your body. A computer combines them to form one 3-D picture that shows any abnormalities or tumors.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan: We inject a small, safe amount of a radioactive sugar substance into your arm before the test. The substance collects in cancerous areas, so we can clearly see where the cancer is located.
- Molecular staging of tumors: This procedure identifies the unique molecular makeup of a specific tumor. Using that information, we can select targeted, effective treatment options.
- Staging laparoscopy: After we have diagnosed the cancer, we perform this procedure so we can determine the stage of the disease. We insert a thin, flexible tube with a video camera attached into the abdomen. The surgeon can see inside the stomach and determine if the cancer has spread to other organs.
You meet with your entire team of stomach cancer specialists within three days of receiving a diagnosis. Your team reviews your case and makes treatment recommendations. Our treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, medical oncology, and clinical trials. Find out more about our approach to treating stomach cancer.
Call the AHN Cancer Help Line anytime at (412) NURSE-4-U (412) 687-7348 to schedule a cancer-related appointment or to just talk with our nurses about diagnoses, treatments, and side effects.