Before a diagnosis of cancer is made, a patient typically presents with a medical problem such as any abnormal bleeding, pain, unusual lumps and bumps, cough, or changes in bowel habits to a specialist doctor. This doctor would undertake some investigations to confirm the diagnosis of the problem. One of the investigations that may be performed is a biopsy, which is a procedure to obtain a small sample of tissue to send to the pathologist to confirm the diagnosis of cancer.
If cancer is confirmed, the patient needs to discuss the most appropriate treatment with the oncologist.
The oncologist must first order some tests, which include:
MRI scans and
The stage or extent of the cancer is a very crucial factor in deciding treatment. In some very early stage cancers, no further treatment after the surgery may be required and in some very advanced late stage disease, no further treatments may be possible. However in the majority of cancers, some further treatments are usually of benefit to the patient. The types of treatments offered may be one or a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, radiotherapy and others. The choice of treatments would depend on the type, site and stage of the cancer.