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How do doctors diagnose cancer?

Patients in Arizona are usually diagnosed with cancer after a doctor takes a cell or tissue sample and looks at it under a microscope. The doctor may confirm that cancer is present by viewing the sample, or the diagnosis may be made after proteins, DNA and RNA in the sample are tested in a lab.

When a cell or tissue sample is tested in a lab, a doctor may have a better idea of what types of treatments would most benefit the cancer patient. If the patient does not have cancer, these tests could help a doctor to diagnose another disease or infection that may have caused a growth to resemble cancer.

Before a tissue or cell sample is tested for cancer, a doctor may have found a lump in a patient's body during a physical exam or imaging. The majority of lumps are not cancerous, and a sample from the tumor will have to be tested before a diagnosis of cancer can be made. Failure to diagnose the specific illness that a patient has in a reasonable amount of time could result in the doctor being liable for damages that may have resulted from this medical negligence.

Whether a patient was misdiagnosed with cancer when they didn't have it or a doctor failed to diagnose a patient who had cancer, the results of these kinds of medical mistakes can be devastating. A patient who has been injured by a misdiagnosis or any other kind of medical negligence might want to speak with an attorney about what remedies may be available through the filing of a medical malpractice claim.

Source: American Cancer Society, "How is cancer diagnosed?", November 10, 2014

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