Cancer DiagnosisFind a Nuvance Health Cancer Institute Location
Our Diagnostic Expertise
Nuvance Health pathologists are board-certified by the American Board of Pathology, and many are fellowship-trained with subspecialty expertise. This advanced training helps deliver a more accurate diagnosis.
Diagnostic Tests for Cancer
We begin with a thorough physical examination and ask you about your medical history. Next, we recommend tests that meet your needs and discuss them with you, including:
We use advanced diagnostic technology and minimally invasive imaging methods. You may receive one or more of these tests:
- Ultrasound: Uses sound waves to create images
- X-ray: Creates images using small amounts of radiation
- Computerized tomography (CT): Captures a series of detailed pictures in just a few seconds
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Uses magnets to produce detailed images
- Nuclear medicine (NM) imaging with PET or SPECT: Measures chemical reactions in your cells to show early signs of cancer
- Mammography: Uses low-energy X-rays to see inside the breasts
The doctor may also order laboratory tests, such as blood tests. Nuvance Health provides convenient on-site diagnostic labs, so you don’t need to travel to another location. We also offer off-site patient service centers to give you more options for test collection.
If imaging and lab tests suggest you may have cancer, the doctor orders a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. In this procedure, we remove and examine a sample of cells or tissues to check for cancer. A biopsy may include a small area (incisional biopsy) or an entire mass (excisional biopsy).
The highly skilled pathologists may use specialized diagnostic techniques to help make a precise diagnosis and personalize treatment, including:
- Flow cytometry: This technique uses special lasers to find, identify, and count specific cells
- Cytogenetics: We look for changes in chromosomes (strands of DNA and protein that contain genetic information)
- Biomarker evaluation: This assessment involves checking for proteins, genes that are missing, moved or changed, or other molecules that indicate cancer
- Molecular methods: We apply advanced techniques such as next-generation sequencing
As part of diagnosis, we confirm the stage of the cancer, meaning its size and how far it has spread. You may have a staging procedure on its own or during surgery to remove a tumor.
Next Steps After a Cancer Diagnosis
A cancer diagnosis can feel overwhelming, but we’re here for you every step of the way. We’ll discuss your condition, answer your questions and explain your treatment options.
Then we customize a plan for you so you can begin targeted treatment quickly. The diagnostic team works closely with other clinicians to customize and expedite your care. Learn more about cancer treatments and services or find a lab or patient service center near you.