Diagnosis is when a doctor works out exactly what disease you have.
This page gives you information about what happens when doctors are fining out if you have cancer.
Any diagnosis will be made by one of our experts, who, after testing, will have looked at cell or tissue samples under a microscope, scans on an x-ray/MRI or other testing methods. These test results are very important when choosing the best treatment options.
Cell and tissue testing is also able to determine other diseases. For example, a doctor may take out a small piece of any lump found to have it tested for cancer and also for any other infections or other problems that can cause growths that may look like cancer.
Lumps can also be discovered using a variety of imagings tests including X-Ray or MRI scans, or they may be discovered during a physical examination by a consultant. doctor or nurse. Any lumps found in an examination must be checked out in a laboratory environment, to ensure that they are not cancer.
Not all lumps discovered are cancer. In fact, most tumors or cysts are not cancerous.
You will be referred to the hospital for tests if your doctor (GP) spots something that suggests cancer. This is called a suspected cancer referral (a two week rule referral). We see all urgent referrals for a clinic appointment within two weeks.
You will be sent a clinic appointment by post with details of where to go, what to bring, and what to expect. It is very important that you keep this appointment. If you can't make the appointment please ring us as soon as possible. You need to arrive at your clinic on time so we can see you and other patients as quickly as possible. You can bring a friend or relative for company.
You may get a physical examination at the clinic. Some basic diagnostic tests will probably be performed. For some cancers - like breast - all tests are performed in one single clinic visit.
The majority of cancer tests take time to arrange and complete. This means you will probably be invited back to the hospital for further appointments.