Ultrasound in stomach cancer patients is used to stage your disease. There are two types used, transabdominal or endoscopic tests.
They both work through the transduction or displacement of U/S waves as they reflect off of an organ or surface.
This gives, not only a picture of the organ itself eg your liver, but also of the structures within the organ too.
The important thing to realise is that this technique is painless to have and very safe too.
The test is normally performed after a fast, so you will need to be nil by mouth for at least 4 hours beforehand.
To perform this test, you will be asked to lie down on a couch. Jelly is placed on your abdomen in the area that the scanner wants to look at.
A probe is placed on your abdomen which passes U/S waves to the area of interest.
This is connected to a monitor that provides the image.
It is not an image that you are likely to be able to interpret yourself, but can give the person scanning you a lot of information.
Transabdominal ultrasound is useful to pick up evidence of secondary tumors in your liver or clarifying an area of concern that had been highlighted on other forms of imaging such as CT scanning.
It normally takes 15 to 20 minutes to perform, sometimes less and you should suffer no ill-effects from having this done.
EUS is an endoscopic way of looking at your stomach and the surrounding structures.
The ultrasound probe sits on the end of a flexible endoscope which is passed down your esophagus.
This test is normally carried out under sedation in a similar fashion to a diagnostic endoscopy test.
The probe abuts the wall and is used to measure the thickness of your tumor and also looks at the lymph nodes that surround the organ, looking for evidence of spread.
It is also possible to take biopsies during your test, both from your lining and any suspicious areas just outside too.
An EUS is essentially a diagnostic tool used in staging of your tumor.
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