Battling the Crab: A Look at the Different Laboratory Testing Procedures to Diagnose Cancer

Cancer is probably the most feared disease in the world. And why not? According to statistics, it is the 4th leading cause of death in the world, following cardiovascular diseases, infectious or parasitic diseases, and heart disease. It is estimated that 1,144,000 people die of this disease every year, even with the number of medical technologies present today. Some of the most used laboratory testing procedures to help detect, diagnose, and even determine the spread of cancer in a patient’s body is outlined in this article. Who knows? The information in this article may just help save your life.

The most common of the laboratory testing procedures when it comes to diagnosing cancer is a biopsy. Here, a tissue sample is extracted from the suspect area. A pathologist then examines the sample to determine if cancer is indeed present. If it is, the pathologist would then determine through his / her examination of the sample how bad the cancer is.

There are many types of biopsies. The fine needle aspiration biopsy, like what its name suggests, makes use of a very thin needle to remove tissue and liquid samples. A core needle biopsy, on the other hand, involves the use of a larger needle in order to extract a tissue sample. The latter is done whenever the pathologist would need more tissue samples to examine.

A patient can also go through imaging tests that would show the specific size and location of a cancer tumor. However, these imaging tests can not determine if the lump found in a patient’s breast area is indeed a cancer tumor or not; A biopsy may have to be associated in order for the doctor and patient to be absolutely sure.

An X-ray is a well-known imaging test. A bone scan allows doctors to examine the inside structure of a patient’s bones. Doctors would have to inject a tracer into the patient’s veins, which would then show if there is cancer in a certain area or not. A CT scan is a three-dimensional image of a patient’s body. One can think of it as a more visual and improved picture of an x-ray. Sometimes, a dye is injected into a patient’s body whenever doctors want a clear picture of the inside of the body.

There are more laboratory testing procedures that are conducted whenever a patient is suspected of having cancer. Some laboratory testing procedures only require a sample of a patient’s blood, urine, and even his / her excrement, and others involve inserting a camera inside the patient’s body.

These may sound painful at first, but if these tests could help save you life, would you do them?

Source by Ze Jeremic