Detection and Staging
Cancer can cause many different symptoms. Most often these symptoms are not caused by cancer, but by benign tumors or other problems. When somebody has symptoms that last for a couple of weeks, doctor will do a physical exam and order tests or other procedures to find out what is causing these symptoms.
If these exams and procedures find a cancer, doctor will order another set of tests or procedures to figure out its stage. Stage refers to the extent of the cancer and is based on factors such as how large the tumor is and if it has spread. Once doctor knows the stage of the cancer, he will be able to suggest treatment and discuss the prognosis with the patient. Understanding the cancer and knowing what to expect can help patients feel more in control and cope with the diagnosis.