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Cancer Diagnosis and Staging

When a patient presents to the cancer center, they generally have some workup completed that has indicated that they have cancer. The traditional history and physical and patient presentation used in general medicine is amended for the patient with cancer to include the pertinent diagnostic history and physical, radiology and pathology with pertinent markers

Presenting the history for a new patient with cancer includes:

1. The "story" of the cancer workup and diagnosis thus far

2. Diagnostic Radiology - what radiology has been performed, results?

  • www.radiologyinfo.org tells you how various x-ray, CT, MRI, ultrasound, radiation therapy and other procedures are performed. It also addresses what you may experience and how to prepare for the exams. The website contains over 115 radiologic procedures and is updated frequently with new information
  • Computed tomography (CT) scanning also called computerized axial tomography (CAT) scanning, is a medical imaging procedure that uses x-rays to show cross-sectional images of the body.

 3.  Pathology - Specific factors (tumor size, lymph nodes) indicative of  disease seriousness as per tumor

  • NCI Pathology Report is a document that contains the diagnosis determined by examining cells and tissues under a microscope. The report may also contain information about the size, shape, and appearance of a specimen as it looks to the naked eye. This information is known as the gross description.

 4. Companion Diagnostics - Specific to each tumor – tumor markers for prognosis and prediction of response to therapy.

  • Tumor Markers are substances that are produced by cancer cells or by other cells of the body in response to cancer or certain benign (noncancerous) conditions.

 5. Metastatic Work Up – Specific to each tumor

 6. Staging: Specific to each cancer

  • Cancer Staging describes the severity of a person’s cancer based on the extent of the original (primary) tumor and whether or not cancer has spread in the body.

 7. Other relevant components of the history