Cancer Testing and Diagnosis
Your doctor will analyze the symptoms, your medical history, and do a physical examination. He will make a recommendation for further tests at the lab.
At the lab, you may have x-rays and blood tests taken and possibly scans. A biopsy may also be needed. The biopsy sample is then analyzed in a laboratory and the cells examined so that the doctors can see exactly what type of cancer it is and whether it is likely to grow slowly or more quickly.
Below is an example of an x-ray of a lung with cancer.
Thousands of people beat cancer every year. This is because when cancer’s diagnosed at an early stage, treatment is often simpler and more likely to be effective. So finding cancer early can make a real difference.
Sometimes, people avoid the doctor because they’re worried about what the doctor might find. Remember that there is a massive improvement in the way cancer is tested and diagnosed. There is great improvement in treatment too, so there is no need to be frightened. It is better to see your doctor earlier rather than later.
The number of people who die from cancer has been falling overall.
Half the people diagnosed with cancer today will still be alive in five years’ time. And more than 40% will still be alive in ten years’ time. The average ten-year survival rate for cancer has doubled over the past 30 years.
For many types of cancer, including prostate cancer and melanoma skin cancer the number of people who survive has improved greatly.
Death rates from three of the UK’s most common cancers - breast, bowel, and male lung cancer - have dropped to their lowest level for almost 40 years.
More than nine out of ten men with testicular cancer are now effectively cured.
And now more than three-quarters of children with cancer survive, compared with only a quarter back in the 60s.
Even for those cancers where survival overall is poor, the chances of surviving are better the earlier the stage at which the cancer’s diagnosed.
So if you notice anything unusual about your body, or have one of the warning signs or symptoms, it’s really important to talk to your doctor about it. It may not be anything to worry about, in which case you will have nothing to lose. But if it’s something serious, you could have everything to gain.