Cancer Diagnosis

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Nuvance Health® Cancer Institute provides timely, accurate diagnosis and staging for all types of cancer, including rare cancers and complex cases. The team can help get you the answers you need, so you can start effective cancer treatments quickly.

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

When diagnosing cancer, we begin with a thorough physical examination and ask you about your medical history. Next, we recommend cancer screening tests and discuss them with you, including:

Imaging tests

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

Lab tests

Your 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, your doctor will order 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).


Nuvance Health’s 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

Cancer staging

As part of your cancer diagnosis, we confirm the stage of cancer, determining 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 to support you every step of the way. Our cancer care team will 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.