Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that more than 1.7 million people in the United States are diagnosed with cancer. There are different types of cancers, depending on the body parts affected by the growth of abnormal cells. While much of what is in your diagnosis might seem indecipherable, do not panic—understanding is the first step toward treatment.
The first thing to understand about a cancer diagnosis is that cancer is classified by location, stage, and individual genetic and biological makeup. To identify these things, your doctor will recommend some tests.
How Is Cancer Diagnosed?
Despite the rapid advancements in medical technology, you will still need to undergo multiple tests to receive an accurate diagnosis. Physicians perform thorough examinations and evaluations to prevent false positives and negatives.
If you are getting tested for cancer, you can expect the following:
Laboratory tests may include blood tests, urinalyses, and others. These are done to check urine or blood components for chemicals that may point to the development of cancer cells.
Diagnostic imaging help doctors diagnose a patient by taking cross-sectional images of a patient’s body using a machine. There are various types of diagnostic imaging, such as CT scans, bone scans, mammograms, ultrasounds, and MRI.
A procedure involving the removal of a sample of tissue is called a biopsy. Biopsies are performed to check whether an individual is at risk of cancer or if it has already developed. This tissue sample may be obtained in different ways, such as through a needle, endoscopy, or surgery.
Location of the Cancer
Sarcoma refers to when tumors grow along with the body’s connective tissues, such as bones, cartilages, and muscles.
Cancer cells that begin in the tissues lining out the internal organs, the skin covering the body, or body cavities are classified as carcinoma.
Leukemia is a type of cancer that develops when the bone marrow overproduces white blood cells. While uncommon in adults, it is the most common cancer in children. It begins in the bone marrow.
Lymphomas and Myelomas
Lymphomas and myelomas occur in the lymphatic system. In terms of location, lymphomas can develop anywhere as the lymphatic system has nodes throughout the body. Myelomas develop in plasma cells found in the bone marrow.
Brain and Spinal Cord Cancers
The body’s central nervous system is also susceptible to cancer. Our brains are made up of billions and billions of nerve cells, some of which can grow abnormally and spread cancerous cells.
Cancer is further diagnosed based on how far it has spread, referred to as its stage. Cancer stages go from stage 0 to stage IV.
- Stage 0 — Cancer has neither grown significantly nor spread to surrounding tissue and also may be referred to as in situ.
- Stage I — Cancer has grown slightly but is less than an inch across and has not spread to surrounding tissue.
- Stage II — At this stage, cancer has grown slightly and may have spread to surrounding lymph nodes.
- Stage III — Cancer has grown significantly larger and connects to multiple lymph nodes.
- Stage IV — Stage IV cancer has spread far beyond the initial site and is affecting other organs.
Genetic and Biological Makeup
In addition to location and stage, cancer is now assessed based on its unique genetic and biological makeup. Each person’s cancer is different, and as such, treatment has to be carefully tailored to each patient. With this in mind, at Wooster Community Hospital, we offer comprehensive cancer care to provide state-of-the-art treatment options.
Depending on the type and severity of cancer, several treatment options are recommended by physicians. Some of these methods may completely get rid of cancer, but some are only given to alleviate pain and other symptoms.
- Surgery — involves an operative procedure to remove cancer cells
- Chemotherapy — administers drugs designed to kill cancer cells
- Radiation therapy — uses radiation to kill cancer cells
- Hormone therapy — targets hormones in effectively blocking cells from being cancerous
- Immunotherapy — helps the immune system of the body naturally combat cancerous cells
- Bone marrow transplant — total replacement of the bone marrow, often done in individuals who have blood cancers
Cancer Care in Wooster, OH
If you think you have cancer, your best option is to get diagnosed by a qualified doctor. Understanding your condition is the first step on the road to treatment. At Wooster Community Hospital, we will be sure to answer all of your questions about your diagnosis.
Our cancer team of doctors and nurses is ready to assist you. You will be, without a doubt, provided the utmost care and given the right treatment plan. If you wish to book an appointment, do not hesitate and call our Wooster, OH, office at (330) 263-8144.