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Diagnosis and Treatment

Early detection of cancer can greatly improve the odds of successful treatment and survival. The diagnosis of cancer can be made only after a careful clinical examination and several laboratory tests to know the origin and location of cancer, type of cancer and the stage of the disease. These are necessary for planning effective treatment.
Various diagnostic tools for cancer include:-

  • Cytology: - Identifying cancer cells with the help of a microscope in body tissue scrapings or in fluids aspirated by a needle.
  • Biopsy and histopathology: - The examination of a piece of body tissue after biopsy and processing.
  • Endoscopy: - To diagnose cancer of deep internal organs like oesophagus, stomach, intestines, thoracic and abdominal cavities this test is used.
  • Blood and bone marrow examination: - For diagnosing leukemia, blood and bone marrow examination is essential.
  • X-ray:- To diagnose cancers of bone, plain X-rays are taken. For other cancers sometimes special X-rays like Barium X-rays and angiograms are required.
  • Scanning:- Depending on the site of cancer, Ultrasound scanning, CT scanning, MRI scanning and scanning by radio isotopes are also used for diagnosis.

Treatment for cancer

Cancer can be treated in several ways; the modality of treatment depends on the type and stage of cancer. The aim of therapy may be to cure cancer, or control the disease at least for a period of time and to alleviate symptoms.
The primary treatment options include Surgery, Chemotherapy, Radiation and Palliative Care. The choice of treatment depends upon the type and location of cancer, spread of the disease when diagnosed and general health of the patient.


Surgery is the oldest known method for the treatment of cancer. With the help of surgery the doctors will remove the whole or a major portion of the tumour. It is possible to completely cure some cancers by surgically removing the cancer from the body.


Chemotherapy is generally used to treat cancer that has spread or is likely to spread throughout the entire body. It is a necessary treatment for some forms of leukemia and lymphoma. Chemotherapy has also proven useful in treating a number of different cancers including breast cancer, colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, osteogenic sarcoma, testicular cancer, ovarian cancer, and lung cancers.


Radiation therapy or radiotherapy involves the use of ionizing radiation in an attempt to either cure or improve the symptoms of cancer. This treatment helps to destroy cancer by focusing high-energy rays on the cancer cells which causes irreparable damage to the molecules that make up the cancer cells. The radiation can be either from internally applied radiation sources (brachytherapy) or from external radiation sources. Radiation therapy is a key component of treatment in many solid tumors and for certain lymphomas.

Palliative care:

Palliative care aims to reduce the physical, emotional, spiritual and psycho-social distress experienced by cancer patients. Unlike the above three modalities of treatment which aim at complete or partial cure, the primary goal of palliative care is to make the person feel better and to relieve unnecessary suffering.