Commonly, appendix cancer is diagnosed during removal of the appendix for appendicitis or abdominal pain. Occasionally a suspicious mass is discovered on scans performed for other symptoms. If you have already had surgery, our experienced pathologist will review your slides and provide expert guidance on the cell type and tumor size of the appendix cancer.

If you have symptoms that may be related to advanced appendix cancer, our team will do a full medical exam and blood work. Scans including CT/MRI and PET may also provide additional information regarding the stage of diagnosis. Stage is determined by the size of the tumor and if there is evidence of spread into lymph nodes, other organs or outside the appendix.

  • Computer tomography (CT). CT scans are most useful for detecting the stage of the cancer being diagnosed. The scan’s results tell your doctor if the cancer has spread to your lungs, liver or other organs.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Typically, MRI scans are the best test for outlining a bone tumor and are also helpful for looking at the brain and spinal cord. MRI scans take longer than CT scans — usually around an hour.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET). PET scans are useful for examining cancer throughout your body and can help determine the current stage of the cancer. PET is sometimes used in conjunction with a CT scan to better pinpoint the cancer in question.

No biopsy performed.

After a test is performed, patients will be contacted by a Markey team member to review results. Further management will be recommended at that time.

When you are diagnosed with appendix cancer, it is common to feel a sense of urgency around starting treatment. However, in most cases, there is time to do the necessary research to ensure that your diagnosis is correct. That may include getting a second opinion.

Our team of experts works together to diagnose, treat and prevent appendix cancer, with a focus on individualized patient care.

Markey is among the best cancer centers in the nation when it comes to advanced treatment options, survival rates and experienced providers, according to U.S. News & World Report. Markey has also been recognized by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and has achieved Magnet status, the gold standard for nursing excellence granted by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet Recognition Program. As the first and only NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center in Kentucky, Markey is able to care for many patients with rare and common cancers, including appendix cancer.

Our team is happy to work with your doctors and communicate to ensure confidence in your diagnosis.

Should I get a second opinion?

A second opinion can help to ensure that you will be getting the latest and most effective therapy for treating appendix cancer. The following are common reasons for seeking a second opinion after your initial diagnosis:

  • You are having difficulty understanding your diagnosis.
  • There may be uncertainty around the stage of appendix cancer.
  • You may want to learn more about treatment options, including clinical trials and advanced technologies only available at an advanced center like Markey.
  • Your health insurance requires a second opinion before continuing toward treatment.

Questions to ask when getting a second opinion

After receiving a cancer diagnosis, you may have a lot on your mind. Here are a few questions to keep in mind for your doctor when arriving for your second opinion:

  • Is there a chance that my medical problem could have a different diagnosis?
  • Are there additional tests I should take before moving forward with treatment?
  • Do you recommend any treatments at this time?
  • What do you expect to happen if I wait or don't have the treatment?
  • What are the side effects of treatment?
  • How long are treatment recovery periods?

For more information, visit these national sources for educational tools and resources:

NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center - A Cancer Center Designated by the National Cancer Institute

Markey Cancer Center is designated by the National Cancer Institute as a Comprehensive Cancer Center – a distinction that recognizes our commitment to accelerating precision cancer research and care to patients. We are the first and only NCI-Comprehensive Cancer Center in Kentucky, and one of 56 in the nation.