A small intestine cancer diagnosis is usually made after a series of tests. These tests will often begin with a physical exam and discussion of the patient’s medical history, in which a physician will take note of a patient’s age and overall health, the symptoms the patient is experiencing and the results of any previous testing. If cancer of the small intestine is suspected, the physician will likely order one or more diagnostic tests.
Some of the tests a physician might perform to confirm or rule out a small intestine cancer diagnosis include:
- Blood tests – Blood tests can be used to check for liver disease, which small intestine cancer sometimes causes.
- Imaging tests – Barium may be used in conjunction with X-rays to outline the small intestine and help a physician see tumors or other abnormalities in the organ. A physician may also order a CT scan, MRI or PET scan for static images of the region.
- Upper endoscopy – A lighted tube is inserted into the small intestine, which allows a physician to visually inspect the area and, if abnormalities are detected, take a biopsy.
- Biopsy – This process involves removing a small amount of tissue for thorough examination under a microscope. As with many other forms of cancer, this is the only way to make a definitive diagnosis.
- Laparotomy – A small incision is made in the abdomen to check for abnormalities. If a tumor is found, the surgeon can then remove it.
For individuals concerned about small intestine cancer, the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center offers a thorough diagnostic process, including some of the most advanced examinations and imaging processes available. If small intestine cancer is diagnosed, our multispecialty tumor team can create an individualized plan for treatment that addresses the distinct characteristics of the tumor and the patient’s needs. We offer diagnosis, treatment and supportive care all in one convenient location.