Cancer Prognosis & Diagnosis

Prognosis of any disease means the estimate of the likely course and outcome of the disease. Prognosis of cancers usually means the estimate of success with treatment and chances of recovery.  Doctors estimate prognosis by using statistics that researchers have collected over many years about people with the same type of cancer. Several types of statistics may be used to estimate prognosis. Some common numbers that are used to determine prognosis include cancer specific survival, relative survival, overall survival, disease-free survival etc. Cancer is nearly always diagnosed by an expert who has looked at cell or tissue samples under a microscope. In some cases, tests done on the cells’ proteins, DNA, and RNA can help tell doctors if there’s cancer. These test results are very important when choosing the best treatment options. Lumps that could be cancer might be found by imaging tests or felt as lumps during a physical exam, but they still must be sampled and looked at under a microscope to find out what they really are. Not all lumps are cancer. In fact, most tumors are not cancer.

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