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About 41% of men and women born in the United States today will be diagnosed with cancer at some time during their lifetime (NCI’s SEER Cancer Statistics Review).
Since every cancer and every person is different, an accurate diagnosis can mean the difference between getting and not getting the most effective treatments you need to fight the disease.
An accurate diagnosis serves an important role through all phases of the cancer journey. Doctors use diagnostic tools to identify and locate tumors, stage the disease, and determine the best
treatment approach. These tools enable doctors to monitor the progress of treatment and modify current therapies when needed. After treatment is complete, diagnostic tools can be used to identify recurrence.
A cancer diagnosis is based on a combination of tests which often includes, but is not limited to, the following:
To arrive at an accurate diagnosis, your doctor will need to first confirm the presence of disease, and then identify the correct tumor type, location, extent and stage. This can be challenging. For some cancers, such as metastatic tumors, it can be difficult to determine where the cancer originated.
Also, an accurate diagnosis relies greatly on proper staging to guide decisions about treatment. Let’s say a patient is initially diagnosed with a stage III tumor and is considered inoperable. After more advanced diagnostic testing, if the tumor is determined to be stage I, that same patient now becomes eligible for surgery.
Having direct access to advanced diagnostic technology and clinical expertise improves the accuracy of a diagnosis. Advanced technology can help pinpoint tumors and allow doctors to determine the best combination of treatments. Some diagnostic tests can identify an effective treatment approach from the start, before treatment even begins. Experienced physicians with expertise in diagnosing diseases, such as pathologists, can more precisely determine the exact cell type and grade of a tumor.
10 Tips for Receiving an Accurate Cancer Diagnosis
NOTE: THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTHCARE PROVIDER REGARDING YOUR CANCER DIAGNOSIS.
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