What are the symptoms of appendix cancer?

In most cases, appendix cancer does not cause any symptoms unless it has spread to another part of the body or causes appendicitis. Symptoms of appendicitis can include:

  • Sharp pain in the middle of the abdomen that moves to the lower right side.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Pain that gets worse with coughing.
  • Hard stools or diarrhea.
  • Low-grade fever.

If symptoms of appendix cancer do occur, they usually happen in organs where the cancer has spread. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the abdomen or pelvis, often on the right side.
  • Feeling of fullness.
  • Changes in bowel habits.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Bloating.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Hernias.
  • Redness around the face and neck.

How is appendix cancer diagnosed?

Because there are few symptoms, appendiceal cancer is difficult to diagnose at an early stage. If your doctor suspects you have appendix cancer, he or she may conduct a physical exam and ask about your medical history. Blood or urine tests do not help diagnose appendiceal cancer, but your doctor may ask you to go in for other diagnostic tests, including:

  • Imaging tests, such as CT scans, MRIs, or PET scans.
  • Biopsy– During this procedure, we will remove a tiny piece of tissue from the appendix, and a pathologist will examine the tissue under a microscope to see if it has cancerous cells.
  • Colonoscopy – During this test, a healthcare provider will insert a long tube with a light and camera into your rectum and up into the colon. This is used to see if there is a tumor growing out of the appendix and into the colon.
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