Diagnosis of Appendix Cancer

Procedures for Appendix Cancer Diagnosis

In addition to a physical exam, the following tests may be used to give an appendix cancer diagnosis: Biopsy— A biopsy is the removal of a small amount of tissue for examination under a microscope. Other tests can suggest that cancer is present, but only a biopsy can make a definite diagnosis. The sample removed from the biopsy is analyzed by a pathologist. Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scanA CT scan creates a three-dimensional picture of the inside of the body with an x-ray machine. A computer then combines these images into a detailed, cross-sectional view that shows any abnormalities or tumors. Sometimes, a contrast medium (a special dye) is injected into a patient’s vein to provide better detail. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)An MRI uses magnetic fields, not x-rays, to produce detailed images of the body. A contrast medium may be injected into a patient’s vein to create a clearer picture. Ultrasound— An ultrasound uses sound waves to create a picture of the internal organs. Radionuclide scanning (OctreoScan)— A small amount of a radioactive, hormone-like substance that is attracted to a carcinoid tumor is injected into a vein. A special camera is then used to show where the radioactive substance accumulates. This procedure is useful in detecting spread of a carcinoid tumor, especially to the liver.

Staging

Staging is a way of describing a cancer, such as where it is located, if or where it has spread, and if it is affecting the functions of other organs in the body. Various diagnostic tests help determine the cancer’s stage. Knowing the stage helps the doctor to decide what kind of treatment is best and can help predict a patient’s prognosis.

Appendix cancer staging:

Stage 0: Refers to cancer in situ. The cancer is found in only one place and has not spread. Stage I: The cancer has spread to inner layers of appendix tissue, but has not spread to the regional lymph nodes or to other parts of the body. Stage IIA: The cancer has grown into the connective or fatty tissue next to the appendix, but has not spread to the regional lymph nodes or to other parts of the body. Stage IIB: The cancer has grown through the lining of the appendix, but has not spread to the regional lymph nodes or to other parts of the body. Stage IIC: The tumor has grown into other organs, such as the colon or rectum, but has not spread to the regional lymph nodes or to other parts of the body. Stage IIIA: The cancer has spread to inner layers of appendix tissue and to one to three regional lymph nodes, but has not spread to other parts of the body. Stage IIIB: The cancer has grown into nearby tissue of the appendix or through the lining of the appendix and to one to three regional lymph nodes, but has not spread to other areas of the body. Stage IIIC: This stage describes a cancer that has spread to four or more regional lymph nodes, but not to other areas of the body. Stage IVA: This stage describes a cancer that has spread to other areas in the abdomen, but not to the regional lymph nodes; the cancer cells are well differentiated. Stage IVB: Stage IVB describes one of the three situations;
  • A cancer that has spread to other areas in the abdomen, but not to the regional lymph nodes; the cells are moderately or poorly differentiated. • A cancer that has spread to other areas in the abdomen and to one to three regional lymph nodes; the cells may be any grade.
  • A cancer that has spread to other areas in the abdomen and to four or more regional lymph nodes; the cells may be any grade.
Stage IVC: A cancer that has spread outside the abdominal area to distant parts of the body, such as the lungs. Recurrent: Recurrent cancer is cancer that comes back after treatment. If you have been diagnosed with appendix cancer, contact us to request an appointment with our San Francisco Bay Area oncology specialists to learn more about your treatment options.