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The Step by Step Process of Diagnosing Cancer

July 8, 2019

What is the step by step process of diagnosing cancer?

  1. Physical Exam
  2. Laboratory Tests
  3. Imaging Tests
  4. Biopsy
  5. Detection of Cancer Stage
  6. Creation of Treatment Plan


The earlier cancer is diagnosed in a patient, the higher their chances are of beating the disease. At a Las Piñas Medical Center, doctors may ask you to undergo multiple processes in order to determine the kind of cancer you may have as well as what stage you are in.

Certain tests are non-invasive and are used to locate where the exact location of the tumor is in your body. Once the tumor is located, more invasive tests are done in order to check if the growth is benign or malignant. If the results show that the tumor is malignant, then more tests will be done in order to determine the exact stage of your cancer. After this, a treatment plan will be made for you by your doctor.

Want to learn more? Read on to explore the detailed step by step process of diagnosing cancer.


Physical Exam

When you first notice a lump on your body and immediately get it checked by your doctor, the first test they will administer is a physical exam. Your doctor will feel different areas of your body in order to look for any suspicious lumps that could possibly be a tumor. Besides keeping an eye out for any protrusions, your doctor will also look out for any abnormalities. This can be in the form of a change in skin color or in the case of organ enlargements as these are also considered to be indications of cancer.

If your doctor notices a number of symptoms, they may prescribe you with further laboratory tests in order to better observe any strange lumps.


Laboratory Tests

Extremely high or extremely low levels of substances in your body can be a symptom of the presence of cancer. Two of the laboratory tests that will be prescribed to you are urine tests and blood tests. In the case of diagnosing leukemia, a blood test can help reveal an unusual number of white blood cells in the human body. In terms of urine tests, the presence of blood is considered a symptom of bladder cancer.

While these cannot completely determine if you have cancer or not, they can help check off any other signs of cancer, which doctors could use to prescribe you with more tests. The next stage is a series of imaging tests.


Imaging Tests


Imaging tests may vary depending on your doctor’s prescription. These are done in order to determine the presence of tumors as well as to further explore your body for any other tumors that may not be seen by the naked eye. Different scans can give doctors a better view through multiple layers of veins, muscles, and bones. Imaging tests that you may be asked to undergo are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT) scan, positron emission tomography (PET) scan, and an X-Ray.

Once the area where the tumor is has been located, a biopsy will need to be done in order to determine if the growth is benign or malignant.



A biopsy is a procedure where your doctor will take a sample of your tissue. This will then be sent into a laboratory for testing. Depending on your doctor, you may undergo one of three types of biopsy. One is with a needle, which will be used to withdraw tissue or fluid. Another type is with an endoscope, which is a thin tube inserted through a natural opening that the doctor uses to remove tissue or cells through. In terms of surgery, the doctor may do an excisional biopsy, which removes the entirety of the tumor. Or if they deem it too dangerous to completely remove it, an incisional biopsy is done, wherein the surgeon removes just part of the tumor.

If your cells look disorderly and are a variety of sizes, then you have cancer cells present in your body. Before discussing the details of your treatment, your doctor must first determine at what stage your cancer is in.


Detection of Cancer Stage


The type of cancer that you have will depend on how vast it has spread to other parts of your body, and if it has, just how much it has spread to. Staging tests include bone scans or X-rays to fully see every single part of your body. Cancer stages range from Stage I to Stage IV, with a higher number indicating a more advanced form of cancer. Once determined, your doctor will craft a treatment plan fitting for you.


Creation of Treatment Plan

A number of factors are taken into consideration when creating a treatment plan for you. These factors include the type of cancer, the stage, your general well-being, as well as your own personal preferences. Do not fret as your doctor will give you multiple options that they will talk you through. Here is a list of common treatments and their goals:


The goal of surgery is to completely remove or at least remove a majority of the tumors in your body.


Chemotherapy is a treatment that injects certain drugs into your system that will kill off cancer cells.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation Therapy uses high-powered energy beams to kill cancer cells. They could either administer the treatment externally (external beam radiation) or they could insert radioactive implants into your system (brachytherapy).


This is just a basic rundown of the step by step process of diagnosing cancer that you should expect.


Key Takeaway

If you are at risk of cancer, then you should prepare to undergo these tests in a trusted Las Piñas Medical Center. It is better to catch the sickness early on in order to craft the most ideal and the most effective treatment plan. Be prepared to go through non-invasive tests in order to pinpoint the exact location of the tumor. Explore the multiple options regarding invasive procedures in order to determine if the tumor is benign or not. And finally, prepare to talk about the next steps once your doctor diagnoses you with a particular stage. Give yourself the best options for diagnosing cancer at a Las Piñas Medical Center.

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