Cancer Diagnosis and Prognosis - Cancer is diagnosed based on medical exam, physical examination and diagnostic tests.
The signs and symptoms of cancer can be vague and variable which often makes clinical diagnosis of cancer (based on the signs and symptoms) difficult. Your doctor will take a detailed medical history (your symptoms, family history of cancer), do a physical exam and recommend certain tests. Histopathological examination of biopsy tissue taken from the mass, CT scan (computed tomography scan), MRI scan (magnetic resonance imaging), and endoscopy are some of the tests. The tests are done to diagnose the type of cancer, and the extent of spread among other things. Read to know more on tests and exams on how to diagnose cancer.
Medical History: Your doctor will take a detailed history of your symptoms such as fever, fatigue, blood in urine, and loss of appetite. Share with your doctor any symptoms which suggest any major changes in the way your body works or the way you feel. Inform the doctor about your other medical condition if any, such as past history of hepatitis B infection, or hepatitis C infection. Also inform your doctor about any family history of cancer.
Physical Exam: During the physical exam, the doctor will examine for presence of any mass or growth by palpation (touching) of abdomen, listen to your breath sounds, looking for change in colour of warts, and tenderness of bones and joints. A normal physical exam does not rule out cancer.
Diagnostic Tests: If your doctor suspects cancerous growth, he may order a series of diagnostic tests (X-ray, CT scan, MRI scan, and ultrasonography) to diagnose certain things such as the site of the tumour, the type of cancer and extent of spread.
These are some of the tests that are done to diagnose cancers. Your doctor will not recommend all the tests at one go. Tests are done based on your signs and symptoms and early detection of cancer can improve prognosis and survival.
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