City of Hope physicians are committed to finding and treating GI carcinoid tumors in the earliest stages. If you are concerned about persistent and troubling gastrointestinal symptoms — or you have a family history or genetic risk of GI cancer — you may require a consultation. Our team of internationally trained gastric specialists use their clinical expertise and leading-edge technology to provide you with the most accurate diagnosis — and the most effective treatment.

Tests to diagnose GI carcinoid tumors

  • Upper endoscopy, the main test to diagnose GI cancers, uses a thin tube with a camera at the end to visualize the esophagus, stomach and duodenum to check for abnormal areas. This procedure may be performed with an ultrasound.
  • Endoscopic biopsy involves removing tissue or cells to be viewed later under a microscope by a pathologist, and usually is done during an endoscopy.                                                               
  • Blood chemistry studies may be ordered to check whether you are anemic. Anemia may be a result of bleeding, liver problems or poor nutrition related to cancer.

If cancer is suspected we may perform other tests to better visualize the cancer and determine if it has spread:

  • Endoscopic ultrasound is a small tube with a probe at the end that uses sound waves to construct a detailed image of the gastrointestinal tract and surrounding organs. EUS may be used to evaluate abnormal findings on previous tests.
  • A CT scan takes a series of pictures inside the body from different angles to determine if cancer has spread.

A PET/CT scan is a procedure in which a positron emission tomography scan and computed tomography scan are done at the same time. It involves injecting radioactive glucose and seeing where in the body it is used most, since malignant tumors need more glucose than normal cells.