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Cancer Diagnosis

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Cancer Diagnosis
Cancer Diagnosis, Staging and Treatment Cancer is a term used to describe diseases in which there is an uncontrolled division and growth of abnormal cells, which have the capacity to invade other body tissues (National Cancer Institute). Cancer is a major cause of morbidity and mortality; from 2006-2010, the incidence rate of all cancers in the US was 463 per 100,000 per year, with mortality being 176 per 100,000 (National Cancer Institute). This makes cancers the second leading cause of death. Cancer also has a huge economic impact, with total costs in the range of $200 billion in 2008 (American Cancer Society). It is thus imperative for health practitioners to have a clear understanding of cancer so as to better care for, and educate, those diagnosed with or at risk for cancer.
Diagnosis and Staging
Today, there are many diagnostic modalities available to the clinician. The obvious first step to diagnosing any disease is a thorough patient medical, family and social history, followed by a physical examination. The choice of tests to use will depend on what cancer is suspected, the patient’s age and medical condition, and results of previous tests. In cancer, an accurate diagnosis is very critical since different cancers require different therapies, many of which can be quite toxic. The most common diagnostic tests used are described.
Biopsy
A biopsy is the surgical removal of some tissue for the purpose of detailed examination by a pathologist under a microscope (American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2012). Biopsy enables definitive diagnosis by identifying the type of cancer, and the grade. There are different ways of removing the body tissue, again dependent on various factors. Fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNA) is a relatively simple procedure that can usually be done in an office setting for tumors or cancers that are close to the skin. Fluid and a small amount of tissue can are aspirated through the needle and syringe enabling speedy, cost

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