One of the key problems in the treatment of cancer is the early detection of the disease. Often, cancer is detected in its later stages, when it has compromised the function of one or more vital organ systems and is widespread throughout the body. Methods for the early detection of cancer are of utmost importance and are an active area of current research.
After the initial detection of a cancerous growth, accurate diagnosis and staging of the disease are essential for the design of a treatment plan. This process is dependent on clinical testing and the observations of physicians. It is important for cancer patients and their families to understand the results given to them so that they can take an active role in the planning of the treatment protocol to be used.
This section includes information on some of the methods used to detect cancer. Also discussed are some possible tests that are still under investigation. You can also find information on the results presented in pathology (path.) reports and a section that describes the process of cancer staging.
Because no test is 100% accurate, it is important to understand the limitations of medical tests. The limitations of any particular medical test are described by its sensitivity and specificity and false positive/false negative rates. Learn more about these important characteristics of every medical test:
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