Currently, there are no standardized appendix cancer screening tests available that can reliably detect appendiceal cancer and improve outcomes for individuals who have no symptoms. A screening test is an important medical test designed to find cancer in its earliest stages, when there are usually more treatment options available.
Appendix cancer is very rare, and there is still much to be learned about its causes and prevention. Also, the condition is often difficult to detect. Sometimes, appendix cancer is found when screening for colon cancer during a preventive colonoscopy. Even so, colonoscopy is not reliable enough for this purpose to be recommended for use as an appendix cancer screening test for the general population.
In the absence of a routine appendix cancer screening test, individuals are encouraged to become familiar with the symptoms of appendix cancer and to seek medical attention if they experience anything unusual. Some signs to watch for include unexplained weight loss, abdominal pain, bloating and change in bowel habits. To evaluate these symptoms, a physician may order:
- Blood and urine tests
- Imaging tests, such as CT or CAT (computed axial tomography) scans, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans and PET (positron emission tomography) scans
The symptoms of appendix cancer are often very similar to those of several other health conditions, and it is commonly misdiagnosed as appendicitis. For these reasons, individuals are encouraged to seek one or more second opinions after being diagnosed with appendicitis to help ensure an accurate diagnosis and prompt and appropriate treatment.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we take a multispecialty approach to the diagnosis and treatment of appendiceal cancer. Through our comprehensive Gastrointestinal Oncology Program, our patients have convenient access to an extensive range of diagnostic, treatment and supportive care services in a single location. Each patient is evaluated, treated and monitored by a collaborative team of highly experienced specialists. In this way we, provide each patient with the benefit of multiple expert opinions at every point in his or her cancer journey.
If you have questions about appendix cancer screening and early detection, contact the experts at Moffitt by calling 1-888-663-3488 or completing a new patient registration form online. We see patients with and without referrals.