The ways that cancer is diagnosed

by | Sep 6, 2018 | Firm News

Ohio residents may be curious as to what the usual ways are to diagnose cancer. It all begins with patients having a screening test done, and if the results of the test suggest cancer, the doctor must determine the cause for good. This involves asking patients about their personal and family medical history and having them undergo a physical exam.

Blood, urine and other bodily fluids can measure the level of certain substances in the body, and when these substances are present in high or low levels, they are a strong indicator of cancer. For this reason, patients can expect to undergo lab tests for these fluids. Lab tests alone will not diagnose cancer, though.

Doctors will want to perform imaging procedures to search for and detect any cancer tumors. There are various imaging methods, including basic X-rays, MRIs, PET scans and nuclear scans. CT scans are taken when an X-ray is linked to a computer; doctors typically have patients ingest a dye or other contrast material so that the pictures will be easier to read. Ultrasound creates a sonogram.

Lastly, doctors will likely perform a biopsy, where a tissue sample is removed and sent to a pathologist. It can be done with a needle or through endoscopy. Tumors, or parts of them, can be removed via excisional or incisional surgery, respectively.

Doctors are liable to make mistakes, such as misdiagnoses and delayed diagnoses. Not all of these mistakes are due to negligence; however, if it is clear that a doctor failed to live up to the requisite standard of care, the victim might want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney to see what legal options might be available.