Cancer Diagnosis Methods
Sacred Heart HealthCare System offers a variety of diagnosis methods for cancer.
Barium enema is a lower gastrointestinal (GI) examination. An X-ray is taken of your large intestine (colon and rectum), and a contrast material containing barium is inserted into your anus to help your colon show up clearly on the X-ray.
Barium swallow or X-ray: a test that uses X-ray to examine how food moves down your esophagus to your stomach. After you drink barium, the barium coats your esophagus, stomach, and small intestine so they show up clearly on the X-ray.
Biopsy: a sample of tissue taken from the body in order to closely examine it. A biopsy is usually performed when your doctor discovers abnormal tissue.
Bone marrow aspiration: the removal of a small amount of bone marrow fluid and cells through a needle put into a bone.
Bone marrow biopsy: the removal of a small amount of bone with the marrow inside.
Bone scan: a nuclear test that identifies and locates new areas of bone growth or breakdown.
CA-125 test: measures the amount of cancer antigen 125 (CA-125), a protein found on the surface of many ovarian cancer cells, is present in your blood.
Chest X-ray: picture of your chest showing your heart, lungs, airway, blood vessels, lymph nodes, breastbone, ribs, collarbone, and the upper part of your spine.
Colposcopy: a procedure in which your doctor examines your vulva, vagina, and cervix using a magnifying device.
Colonoscopy: a procedure in which your colon and rectum are examined through the anus with a scope.
CT scan: computed tomography (CT) scan is an imaging test that uses X-rays to create detailed pictures of internal structures in your body.
Cystoscopy (cystourethroscopy): a test in which your doctor can look inside your bladder and urethra using a cystoscope, a thin, lighted instrument. The cystoscope is inserted into your urethra and then into your bladder.
Cytogenetic analysis: an analysis of blood or bone marrow cells that examines the organizations of chromosomes, structures that contain your genetic material. This type of analysis is used to diagnose and treat different forms of cancer.
Digital rectal exam: a digital (finger) rectal exam is performed to check for problems in your pelvis and lower abdomen. Your doctor gently puts a lubricated, gloved finger of one hand into your rectum while using his/her other hand to press on your lower abdomen or pelvic area.
Dilation and curettage (D&C): a surgical procedure used to treat the cause of sudden, heavy vaginal bleeding and to remove tissue.
Endometrial biopsy: a procedure in which your doctor takes a small sample of the lining of your uterus (endometrium).
Endoscopic biopsy: a procedure performed by inserting a fiber optic endoscope, a long, thin, lighted tube, into your body. The endoscope is used to view an organ or suspicious area in your body in greater detail in order to remove a small amount of tissue.
Endoscopic exam: a procedure performed by inserting a fiber optic endoscope, a long, thin, lighted tube, into your body. The endoscope is used to view an organ or suspicious area in your body in greater detail.
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP): a test that uses an endoscope, a long, thin, lighted tube, with X-ray to examine the ducts that drain your liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. The endoscope is inserted through your mouth, down your throat, and into your stomach until it can view the ducts.
Endoscopy: a procedure in which tube-like instruments (endoscopes) are used to look inside your body. Some endoscopes have a small video camera on the end for viewing. The endoscope may be inserted through an opening like your mouth, anus, or urethra or through a small skin incision.
Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD or upper endoscopy): a procedure in which an endoscope, a long, thin, lighted tube, is inserted into your body to examine your upper digestive tract (esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine).
Excretory urogram: a test that uses X-ray to examine the structure and function of your urinary system.
Fine needle aspiration biopsy: a method of collecting cells from the breast, liver, thyroid, lymph nodes, respiratory tract, mouth, neck, or genitals to determine the existence of cancer, infection, or other conditions. A thin needle is inserted into a lump to obtain a sample of cells or fluid.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy: a procedure in which the lining of the lower large intestine (sigmoid colon) is examined to assess symptoms such as abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, or changes in bowel habits. A sigmoidoscope, a long, flexible tube, is inserted through your rectum and then your large intestine to view the lining of your rectum and the lower part of your large intestine.
Gallium scan: a nuclear medicine test in which a special camera takes pictures of tissues in your body after you have received a radioactive tracer. The tracer is injected into a vein in your arm.
Laparoscopy: a surgical procedure in which a laparoscope, a thin, lighted tube, is inserted through an incision in your abdomen to examine your abdominal organs or female pelvic organs. Laparoscopy can also be used to identify and locate conditions such as cysts and fibroids.
Liver function test: a test that helps detect, evaluate, and monitor liver disease or damage by measuring certain enzymes or proteins in your blood.
Lumbar puncture (spinal tap): a test that involves taking a small sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for examination. A needle is carefully inserted into your lower spine to collect the CSF to sample.
Mammogram: an X-ray of the breasts used to screen for and/or detect breast problems.
MRI: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an imaging test that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to create images of organs and other internal structures.
Pap test (Pap smear): a test used to examine a sample of cells taken from a woman’s cervix to identify changes in the cells that could indicate cervical cancer or other conditions.
Pelvic exam: an exam in which a female’s reproductive organs are examined visually and manually. A Pap test may be performed during a pelvic exam.
Pelvic ultrasound: a type of ultrasound that uses sound waves to produce images of the structures and organs in your lower abdomen or pelvis.
Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC): a procedure in which dye is injected into your liver and bile ducts and an X-ray is taken. If a blockage is found, a thin, flexible tube (stent) is sometimes inserted into your liver to drain your bile into your small intestine or a collection bag on the outside of your body.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test: a test that measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a substance produced by the prostate gland, is present in a man’s blood. Elevated PSA levels may indicate prostate cancer, prostatitis, or an enlarged prostate.
Rectal and anal ultrasound: an imaging test that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of your rectum.
Sentinel node biopsy: a procedure that helps identify and locate the first few lymph nodes in which a tumor drains (sentinel nodes). Since sentinel nodes are the first location that cancer is likely to spread, only these lymph nodes that likely contain cancer cells are removed.
Skin cancer screening: tests used to screen for skin cancer. Screenings can be helpful in finding skin cancer early.
Sputum cytology: a test that examines a sample of sputum (mucus), produced in your lungs and airways, to determine the presence of abnormal cells.
Stereotactic breast biopsy: a procedure in which X-ray is used during a core needle biopsy to locate the area of the breast where a tissue sample will be taken.
Swallowing test: a test that uses X-ray to examine how well you swallow. You drink liquid containing barium to coat the inside of your esophagus to allow it to show up clearly on an X-ray.
Transrectal ultrasound: a type of ultrasound that uses sound waves to produce images of a man’s prostate gland. A transducer is inserted into the rectum to examine the prostate gland and seminal vesicles. A biopsy may be taken as well during the ultrasound.
Transvaginal ultrasound: a type of ultrasound that uses sound waves to produce images of a woman’s pelvic organs. A transducer is inserted into the vagina. A biopsy may be taken as well during the ultrasound.
Ultrasound: an imaging test that uses sound waves to produce images of organs and other internal structures. To transmit the sound waves, a gel is applied to the skin and a transducer is passed back and forth over the area.
Ultrasound-guided biopsy: a procedure in which ultrasound is used during a biopsy to confirm the correct location of the tissue to be sampled.
Urine culture: a test to identify germs that may be causing a urinary tract infection (UTI).
Urine cytology: examination of urine to determine the presence of abnormal cells.
X-ray: an imaging test that uses a form of radiation focused into a beam. X-rays can pass through the body, and dense tissues in your body, like your bones, block X-rays and therefore appear white in an X-ray picture.