Sometimes doctor’s are not positive about a cancer diagnosis, and will order additional tests to provide a better basis for their conclusion. Or, if the doctor is sure you have cancer, the patient still may want to obtain a "second opinion" about that diagnosis.
- A) Are you really confident I
- B) What kind of tests would
make you more confident of
a cancer diagnosis?
- C) How experienced are the
pathologists and can I get
a copy of my slides?
- D) Do you mind if I get a
"second opinion" from
- Practical Tips...
- Sometimes doctors are not sure. A "CT scan," for example could reveal
a small nodule on the lung, say 0.5 millimeters (when Stage 1 lung
cancer usually begins when a nodule measures at least 1.0 millimeters).
So the doctor might request another CT scan in six months, and defer
a conclusion about cancer until they see those test results. This
type of process is sometimes called "watchful waiting."
- One of the most common tests -- to verify that cells are cancerous –
is a "needle biopsy," that involves insertion of a tiny needle into the
place where a potential tumor may exist, and extracting some tissue in
order to examine its cells under a microscope. This is not a general
- Tissue extracted from a biopsy is transferred onto slides for microscopic
analysis by experts known as "pathologists." Unless they are highly
experienced, this is one place where a flawed diagnosis can occur. If
you can, try to get a copy of your pathology slides.
- When patients are diagnosed with cancer, many of them obtain a
second opinion from another oncologist -- usually at a different hospital.
Be mindful that this process requires forwarding of data by the original
oncologist -- including pathology slides, and other test results.