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What tests are used to diagnose cancer?

Missouri residents may be interested in learning how medical professionals diagnose cancer. In order to diagnose this potentially fatal disease, a doctor might first check to see if there are any abnormal lumps in a patient's body. Although some lumps could be felt during a physical examination, others might need to be discovered through imaging known as radiology. In either case, the lumps would need to be examined under a microscope before determining whether they are cancerous or benign.

When an expert looks at a tissue sample under a microscope, a cancer diagnosis can be made in most cases. In others, testing of the RNA and DNA of the cells could be more effective in determining if cancer is present. In addition to determining if cells are cancerous or non-cancerous, these tests also aid doctors in selecting the optimal treatment option. The tests are called biopsies, and the tissue that is tested is called a biopsy specimen.

In addition to finding cancer, some of these tests could help in identifying other health issues. For example, when a doctor is unsure about a lump being cancerous, he or she could test the sample for other diseases or infections.

In some situations, these tests for cancer could lead to a misdiagnosis. Any patient who suffers irreparable harm due to a misdiagnosis could be unsure on how to proceed. A personal injury attorney who has a history of handling medical malpractice cases could help the patient decide if filing a lawsuit for compensation of pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost income is warranted.

Source: Cancer.org, "How is cancer diagnosed?", November 24, 2014

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