Diagnosis Testing and Treatment Information
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When a potential problem is identified, your physician will order
a number of diagnostic tests which might include the following: x-rays, CT scan, MRI, PET scan, Nuclear Medicine scan, bone marrow
biopsy and scintigraphy.
PET Scan (Positron Emission Tomography)
Positron emission tomography or PET scan is a test used to look at
different parts of the body to see how they are working. PET scans
can show how much blood is flowing to an area of the body and how
well the tissues in that area use oxygen and food. They can also
show where medicines and chemicals go inside the body. A PET scan
works by giving radioactive “tracers” as a dye through an IV or as
a gas. These tracers are picked up by a scanner and turned into
pictures with different colors indicating varying levels of
Computed axial tomography, also called “CT” or “CAT” scan is a
painless test that takes pictures of the inside of the body. This
radiographic technique produces a film that represents a detailed
cross-section of tissue structure. Because CT scans take pictures
of the body only a few layers at a time, they are especially good
for showing bone, soft tissue and blood vessels.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI uses a strong magnetic field and
a computer to take pictures of the body. MRI is especially useful
in evaluating the brain, neck, spinal cord and blood vessels.
However, nearly every part of the body can be evaluated by MRI.
For this painless test patients must remain motionless for
Nuclear Medicine Scan
This technique uses an injected radioactive material and a scanner
to determine the size, shape, location and function of various
organs, structures and body parts. The procedure is painless and
is used for assessing solid structures of the body.
Bone Marrow Biopsy
This procedure takes a sample of bone marrow to test for
abnormalities. Bone marrow is the soft, spongy tissue inside some
of the larger bones. Bone marrow makes most blood cells, such as
red and white blood cells and platelets. The biopsy is performed
by inserting a needle into the bone (usually of the hip) and
removing the marrow sample during a sterile procedure. The sample
is then sent to the lab for testing.
The radiographic procedure is performed to determine lymph node
involvement with a primary tumor. A radiographic isotope is
injected around the tumor and then imaged after it has traveled to
the lymph node group that serves as its primary drainage.
Demonstrating this involvement is highly important because
effective treatment has been discovered for patients with
metastatic lymph nodes.
Cancer treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy,
chemotherapy and immunotherapy or a combination of these
Radiation Therapy is often
done on an outpatient basis. A precisely measured dose of
radiation is directed to a tumor with minimum exposure to
surrounding tissue. Current radiation therapy methods cause much
less damage to healthy tissue than methods previously used.
Typical side effects may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea,
fatigue and depression.
Chemotherapy, the use of drugs
or chemicals given individually or in combination, is administered
in precisely measured doses to target rapidly dividing cancer
cells. It is a particularly effective treatment for leukemia and
many metastatic cancers and may be used in combination with other
forms of treatment. Expected side effects include nausea,
vomiting, weakness and diarrhea. Hair loss and decreased sex
drive, usually temporarily, may also occur.
Immunotherapy or biological
response modifiers may be used as an adjunct therapy. These
substances, such as Interleukin-2 or Interferon, are used to
stimulate the body’s own immune system to interfere with cancer
cell growth, help healthy immune cells control cancer and can help
repair normal cells damaged by other cancer treatment. Patients
may encounter side effects during treatment including flu-like
symptoms (fever, chills, muscle or joint aches), loss of appetite
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