Risks of Stomach (Gastric) Cancer Screening
Key Points for This Section
Decisions about screening tests can be difficult. Not all screening tests are helpful and most have risks. Before having any screening test, you may want to discuss the test with your doctor. It is important to know the risks of the test and whether it has been proven to reduce the risk of dying from cancer.
Some cancers never cause symptoms or become life-threatening, but if found by a screening test, the cancer may be treated. It is not known if treatment of these cancers would help you live longer than if no treatment were given, and treatments for cancer may have serious side effects.
Screening test results may appear to be normal even though stomach cancer is present. A person who receives a false-negative result (one that shows there is no cancer when there really is) may delay seeking medical care even if there are symptoms.
Screening test results may appear to be abnormal even though no cancer is present. A false-positive test result (one that shows there is cancer when there really isn't) can cause anxiety and is usually followed by more tests and procedures which also have risks.
Upper endoscopy may cause the following rare, but serious, side effects:
- A small hole (puncture) in the esophagus or stomach.
- Heart problems.
- Breathing problems.
- Lung infection from inhaling food, fluid, or stomach acid into the lung.
- Severe bleeding that needs to be treated at a hospital.
- Reactions to medicine used during the procedure.