What is diagnostic testing?
Diagnostic testing involves tests and procedures to confirm the presence of disease and identify the correct tumor type, location, extent and stage. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), we use sophisticated diagnostic technology to pinpoint and evaluate tumors, and develop a personalized treatment plan.
Experienced care team
Our diagnostic team includes physicians across many medical specialties, including radiologists, pathologists and geneticists. They have expertise in using advanced, minimally invasive diagnostic tests and procedures to diagnose the disease.
A thorough and accurate cancer diagnosis is the first step in developing an individualized cancer treatment plan. When you first visit one of our hospitals, we will perform a complete array of diagnostic tests to accurately confirm your diagnosis and plan your individualized treatment.
This initial diagnostic evaluation typically takes about three to five days.
The following are some common diagnostic tests:
- A review of health history
- Physical examination
- Laboratory tests (blood, urine, etc.)
- Imaging tests (X-ray, PET/CT, MRI, ultrasound, etc.)
- Nuclear medicine scans (bone scans, etc.)
- Genetic tests
Diagnostics plays an important role throughout your cancer treatment:
- Before treatment, we will accurately locate tumors, stage the disease, and determine an appropriate combination of cancer treatments for you. Tumor molecular profiling helps us identify the right chemotherapy or targeted therapy drugs before treatment, which reduces unnecessary toxicity and identifies an appropriate treatment approach from the start.
- During your treatment, we will track the size of the tumor, progression of the disease, and your response to treatment, and modify your treatment accordingly. Minimally invasive tools like navigational bronchoscopy and endoscopic ultrasound allow us to find and reach very small tumors without the risks of surgery.
- After you complete treatment, we will follow up with you to evaluate any symptoms you may have, and schedule regular check-ups to monitor for any signs of metastasis or recurrence. Technologies like the Discovery™ PET/CT 600 allow us to accurately detect small lesions in areas of the body subject to movement, like the breasts, lungs, colon and prostate.
CTCA offers expanded genomic tumor assessment. This tool reveals the DNA alterations that are driving the growth of a cancer. By identifying the mutations that occur in a cancer cell's genome, our physicians can better understand what caused the tumor and provide cancer treatment therapies that specifically target changes in the tumor's genomic profile.
Because genomic testing is a rapidly developing area of medical science, there are currently only a few cancers where such testing is considered to be routine in the evaluation of possible treatment options. Your oncologist will help determine if you are a good candidate for genomic testing.
Accommodating your needs
We understand that waiting for diagnostic test results can create a great deal of stress. To ease anxiety and help you begin your cancer treatment sooner, we provide reduced wait times for appointments and test results.
We also want you to be as comfortable as possible during your imaging tests. Our team uses padding and comfort equipment, as well as a variety of positioning devices, to help you feel more relaxed during scans and procedures.