Early diagnosis of cancer usually provides the best chance for recovery. Keep this fact in mind and discuss the types of cancer screening that are appropriate for you with your doctor.
Studies have demonstrated that cancer screening tests diagnose cancer at the earliest stage and save lives in certain cancers. However, screening tests are recommended only for the high-risk patients for other cancers.
Various medical organizations and patient support groups have issued recommendations and guidelines for cancer screening. You and your doctor can review the guidelines and determine the best method for you depending on the risk factors applicable to you.
Your doctor may use one or more methods to establish the diagnosis of cancer.
In the laboratory, doctors examine the cells under microscope. Healthy cells are uniformly healthy in terms of size and structure. However, cancer cells look less regular and they vary in size and cell formation.
Once the diagnosis of cancer is established, your doctor will strive to determine the stage of your cancer. Doctors use the stage of cancer to determine the treatment options and the chance for recovery.
The tests and procedures used to stage cancer may include imaging tests such as bone scans and roentgenograms to determine whether the cancer has spread to other body parts.
Cancer stages are generally expressed by Roman numerals from I to IV. The higher numerals indicate more advanced cancers. In some cases, letters or words are used to express the stage.