Cancer Diagnosis and Staging - A Medicine Essay Example

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Cancer can always cause several different symptoms. Such symptoms are usually not brought about by cancer, but are caused by the benign tumors or even some other problems. If one has symptoms that stay or remain for several weeks, then his or her doctor will have to conduct a physical examination and run tests or even some other processes for the purposes of establishing the possible cause of the symptoms. If all the examinations and tests run turn out to be positive, meaning that cancer has been confirmed, the physician will order more sets of procedures and tests in order to establish the stage of the cancer. Stages can be defined as the level of cancer in the body and is on the basis of factors like the size of the tumor and whether it has spread to other areas (Silvestri, Gonzalez, Jantz, Margolis, Gould, Tanoue, & Detterbeck, 2013). Immediately the physician has established the stage of the cancer, he or she will not be in a position of recommending the best treatment and then discuss the prognosis with the patient. Having an understanding of ones cancer and comprehending what to anticipate can assist him or her and their loved ones or even family feel like they are more in management and cope with their diagnosis.


Nursing diagnosis is a process of examining the patient to identify their problem. It is not an easy task because it requires professionalism to come up with comprehensive findings. To properly conduct a diagnosis, it is vital for a nurse to develop a patient and a nurse relationship to set the patient free.

If one has a symptom or his or her outcomes of the screening tests indicate that there is cancer, the physician should establish whether it is as a result of cancer or some other causes. The physician might ask about the medical history of the individual or his or her family and conduct a physical test. In addition, the doctor might conduct lab tests, scans as well as some other procedures or tests.

Lab Tests

Low or high levels of some substances in an individuals body can be an indication of cancer. Therefore, the lab tests conducted on the blood, urine and some other fluids of the body that measure these substances are essential in assisting the doctors in making a diagnosis. Nonetheless, lab outcomes that are abnormal are not a good sign of cancer. The lab tests are very critical, however, physicians cannot use them fully in the diagnosis of cancer.

Imaging Processes

Imaging procedures offer pictures of the areas within the body of an individual, which assist the physician in seeing whether there is a tumor. Such picture can be created in the following ways:

CT Scan

An x-ray machine that is connected to a computer takes several details photos of the individuals organs. He or she might get a dye or some other distinction materials to cite the regions inside the body. These materials make the photos easier to study.

Nuclear scan

Here, one can get an injection of quite a small quantity of radioactive material. This is at times referred to as a tracer. It runs through the bloodstream and then gathers in some bones and organs. There is a machine known as a scanner which senses or identifies and examines the radioactivity. The machine makes photos of organs and bones on a film. The body eliminates the radioactive materials faster. This kind of scan might also be referred to as radionuclide scan. This step is very important because it is the action which establishes the course of treatment.

Cancer staging

Physicians utilize various kinds of examinations together with tests to try and establish the stage of cancer. Depending on the site or location of the cancer, the physical test might offer some hint as to the extent of the cancer. Imaging examinations such as x-rays, ultrasound, PET scans as well as CT scans might also offer vital clue and information regarding the intensity and location of the cancer in the body. In addition, a biopsy is usually required for the purposes of confirmation of a cancer diagnosis. They may also be necessary in establishing whether an unusual spot observed on an imaging examination is actually cancer spread. In the process if a biopsy, the physician eliminated the tumor or its pieces to be examined under a microscope. Some of the biopsies are normally conducted during surgery. Nevertheless, with several kinds of biopsies, the physician eliminates the small pieces of tumor by the use of a thin needle or even via a flexible tube that is lighted which is known as endoscope. These steps are usually very important because they allow the nurse to prepare the correct plan used when offering medication to patients. These steps also lead to correct diagnosis of the disease.

Staging types

Staging is usually conducted when an individual is initially diagnosed, before even any kind of intervention or treatment is attempted. The following are the major kinds of staging that are widely used:

Clinical Staging

The clinical staging is an approximation of the level of the cancer on the basis of the outcomes of the physical examinations, imaging tests as well as the tumor biopsies. However, for some of the cancers, the outcomes of the other examinations, like those done on blood, are also utilized in the staging (Statnikov, Aliferis, Tsamardinos, Hardin & Levy, 2004). The clinical staging is a very critical or significant part of establishing or suggesting the most appropriate kind of intervention or treatment. In addition, it is the baseline upon which comparison is done when appraising the response of the cancer to treatment.

Pathologic Staging

The pathologic stage can also be established or determined when the surgery is being conducted. This stage largely relies on the outcomes of the tests and examinations that have been mentioned above, and what is found out regarding the cancer during the process of the surgery. This surgery is usually intended at eliminating the cancer and all the neighboring lymph nodes. Nonetheless, the surgery might at times be conducted just for the purposes of looking at the level or extent of the cancer in the body and taking out the tissue samples. The pathologic stage is at times differentiated from the clinical stage; for example, if the outcomes of the surgery indicate that the cancer has spread to an extent that was not thought or imagined. This stage provides the doctor more clear information that they need in the prediction and suggestion of the most appropriate treatment.



Statnikov, A., Aliferis, C. F., Tsamardinos, I., Hardin, D., & Levy, S. (2004). A comprehensive evaluation of multicategory classification methods for microarray gene expression cancer diagnosis. Bioinformatics, 21(5), 631-643.

Silvestri, G. A., Gonzalez, A. V., Jantz, M. A., Margolis, M. L., Gould, M. K., Tanoue, L. T., ... & Detterbeck, F. C. (2013). Methods for staging non-small cell lung cancer: diagnosis and management of lung cancer: American College of Chest Physicians evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Chest, 143(5), e211S-e250S.

Abeel, T., Helleputte, T., Van de Peer, Y., Dupont, P., & Saeys, Y. (2009). Robust biomarker identification for cancer diagnosis with ensemble feature selection methods. Bioinformatics, 26(3), 392-398.


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