Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Cancer diagnosis

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Dr. Timothy McCay: There's two important initial phases of a diagnosis of cancer. One is to make sure that the diagnosis is correct. Is it the correct cell type? Is it the correct primary lesion? Is it the correct receptor, positive or positive negative, positive or negative? Is that accurate? The other thing is, is what is the stage of that malignancy?

Any time you upstage a patient, the type of treatments they are able to be offered or to be considered for changes. So if a patient, let's say, is a stage 1 lung cancer, but somehow their testing was done in such a way that it was misinterpreted or some of that nature, and they're made a stage 3.

They're moved out of the ability to have surgery, which could be curative, and put it into a different category where now they're looking at chemo and radiation. So it's important to get proper diagnosis of the cell type, make sure that the pathologist is correct, and make sure that the staging studies are accurate and complete to make the complete, correct staging so that you know where you fall into the stratification for what type of therapy you need.

Dr. Timothy McCay explains why it’s important for doctors to accurately diagnose and stage each patient’s cancer.

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