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Small intestine cancer screening is generally not recommended for people who do not have symptoms. There are two main reasons. First, this is a rare form of cancer, and second, there are currently no testing techniques that have proven to be reliable and cost effective enough to detect early-stage small intestine cancer in asymptomatic individuals.

For people who have been identified as genetically predisposed to developing the condition, certain small intestine cancer screening and diagnostic tests can be performed for early detection purposes. A physician can recommend an appropriate testing schedule for a patient who is not exhibiting symptoms. However, if a genetically predisposed person experiences possible signs, such as abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss or anemia, immediate testing is advisable.

Some small intestine cancer screening tests that might be recommended for a high-risk individual include:

  • Physical examination to assess the patient’s abdomen for lumps or swelling
  • Blood testing for high levels of certain proteins
  • Fecal occult blood testing for hidden blood in the stool
  • X-rays, CT scans or PET scans to create images that can reveal abnormalities in the interior of the small intestine
  • Endoscopy to view the interior of the gastrointestinal tract and check for suspicious areas via a flexible lighted tube and camera inserted through the patient’s mouth
  • Colonoscopy to view the inside of the bowel and identify tumors or masses using a flexible lighted tube and tiny camera inserted through the patient’s rectum

At Moffitt Cancer Center, a multispecialty team creates and oversees an individualized treatment plan for each patient. Our comprehensive approach incorporates all aspects of diagnosis, treatment and supportive care. Designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute, Moffitt is nationally recognized for conducting groundbreaking research and developing innovative treatments and services for patients with all types of small intestine cancer.

If you'd like to learn more about small intestine cancer screening and risk assessment, the experts at Moffitt can help. Call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online. No referrals are required.