Cancer Diagnosis

Cancer Diagnosis
 
It is very important to correctly diagnose cancer as each stage and type of cancer subsequently requires different treatment. The first step in the diagnosis of cancer is to perform a biopsy.. 
 
What are biopsies?
  • A biopsy is the taking of a small body tissue sample from the suspected area to examine it very closely under a microscope.
  • There are several different types of biopsies.
  • Biopsies are usually taken during medical tests or operations.
  • For example, during an endoscopy - an examination that looks at the inside of the esophagus and stomach, if the doctor sees signs of stomach ulceration, small tissue samples will be cut out and sent to the laboratory. The cells in these samples of tissue will be looked at very closely under the microscope to see if they are normal or cancerous. If they were normal, then the patient would be diagnosed with a stomach ulcer. If they looked cancerous, then he/she would be diagnosed with stomach cancer.
How can doctors tell what cancerous cells look like?
Cancer cells look quite different from normal cells. They are often more primitive looking and have oddly shaped nuclei compared to a normal cell. Even so, one can usually tell what type of body cell it was originally. Doctors can sometimes tell, from biopsies, where in the body a cancer has started.