Diagnosis and Staging

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Cancer can cause many different symptoms. Most often these symptoms are not caused by cancer, but by benign tumors or other problems. If you have symptoms that last for a couple of weeks, your doctor will do a physical exam and order tests or other procedures to find out what is causing your symptoms.

If you do find out you have cancer, your doctor will order another set of tests or procedures to figure out its stage. Stage refers to the extent of your cancer and is based on factors such as how large the tumor is and if it has spread. Once your doctor knows the stage of your cancer, he will be able to suggest treatment and discuss your prognosis with you. Understanding your cancer and knowing what to expect can help you and your loved ones feel more in control and cope with your diagnosis.

Learn About Cancer Symptoms

Cancer can cause many different symptoms. Only a doctor can tell if your symptoms are caused by cancer or some other problem.


Learn about tests and procedures that doctors might order in order to diagnose cancer.

What is Cancer Staging?

Staging is the process of determining details about your cancer, such as how large the tumor is and if it has spread. TNM is the most commonly used staging system.


Prognosis describes how serious your cancer is and your chances of survival. Learn about survival statistics and how they are used to estimate prognosis.

Questions to Ask about Your Cancer Diagnosis

Suggested questions for patients to ask their doctors when they learn they have cancer and want to know what to expect next.


Find research articles on cancer diagnosis and staging, which may include news stories, clinical trials, blog posts, and descriptions of active studies.