Getting the diagnosis
To get to the bottom of your symptoms, there are a number of tests your doctor might do. These could include:
An upper endoscopy
An endoscopic ultrasound
Imaging tests like X-rays, CT or PET scans, and MRIs
If you are diagnosed with stomach cancer or GE junction cancer, it can be a shock. You might feel overwhelmed, scared, or even angry. Everyone reacts differently, but it’s important to take the time you need to absorb this information. Reach out to loved ones, family, friends, and even others with your condition for support throughout this time.
Remember, you are not alone
people in the US were living with stomach cancer in 2014
new cases of stomach cancer were estimated in 2017
new cases of GE junction cancer were estimated in 2008
There are many ways for you to connect with other people going through this journey. Start connecting with Debbie’s Dream.
Understanding the diagnosis
Once you process the news, don’t hold back—ask your doctor any questions you may have. Your doctor may talk to you about whether the cancer is a "resectable cancer" or "unresectable cancer." This has to do with whether the tumor can be removed (resected) with surgery, and can help guide your treatment options.
What is staging?
Your doctor may also talk to you about the stage of your disease, using numbers that indicate the level of severity. For example, stage 0 is less severe, whereas stage 4 stomach cancer or GE junction cancer is more severe. Stomach cancer and GE junction cancer treatments may vary by stage, so this can help guide your doctor on the options that makes the most sense for you.
Very often, stomach cancer and GE junction cancer are diagnosed at a more advanced stage of the disease. This is not your fault. Because early-stage stomach cancer rarely causes symptoms, stomach cancer and GE junction cancer can be difficult to detect until a much later, or advanced stage.
What is advanced cancer?
When a cancer is referred to as “advanced cancer,” that means it has spread from the place where it started (your stomach or GE junction) to other parts of the body. If it has spread to tissue located near the original tumor, then the cancer is considered “locally advanced.” If it has spread to farther parts of the body (for example, from the stomach to the liver), then the cancer is considered to have “metastasized.”
Although advanced cancer is a more severe stage, there are treatments available to help—so that you can keep fighting for what matters most to you.