Diagnosis and Staging
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.
Cancer has many different symptoms. Only a doctor can tell if your symptoms are caused by cancer.
If you have a symptom that does not go away or a screening test result that suggests cancer, the doctor must find out whether it is due to cancer or some other cause. Learn about tests and procedures that help figure out the reason for your problems.
Once cancer is diagnosed, the doctor needs to determine the stage. Stage describes details about your cancer, such as how large the tumor is and if it has spread. Knowing the stage helps the doctor suggest treatment options and discuss prognosis.
Prognosis describes how serious your cancer is and your chances of survival. Learn about survival statistics and how they are used to estimate prognosis.
These questions may help you learn more about your cancer and what you can expect next.