Cancer Tests Overview
Understanding Cancer Tests
Doctors use tests like mammography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computed tomography (CT) scans to help them screen for, diagnose, treat, and monitor cancer. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, you may have had one or more of these tests. You may have wondered why you had specific tests and not others and what exactly the doctor was looking for.
Cancer Diagnostic Imaging
Imaging—X-rays, CT scans, MRIs—is a process that produces pictures of body structures and organs. It is used to detect tumors and other abnormalities, to determine the extent of disease, and to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment.
Laboratory Tests for Cancer
Lab tests are used in cancer diagnosis to look for tumor markers. These are substances either released by cancer cells into the blood or urine or substances created by the body in response to cancer cells.
Endoscopic Examination for Cancer
An endoscope is a small, flexible tube with a light and a lens on the end used to look into the esophagus, stomach, duodenum, colon, or rectum. It can also be used to take tissue from the body for testing or to take color photographs of the inside of the body.
Detailed information on biopsy, including the most common types of biopsy such as endoscopic biopsy, bone marrow biopsy, excisional biopsy, incisional biopsy, fine needle aspiration biopsy, punch biopsy, shave biopsy, and skin biopsy
Your doctor might order a blood test to find out if you are sick, if your body is responding to an allergy, or if you are at risk for certain health conditions.