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Advanced diagnostic tests for cancer and related diseases

If a screening test or exam points to a probable cancer, the next step is diagnosis. Much more than a simple yes or no, a concise cancer diagnosis helps doctors determine which treatment will provide the best results with the fewest side effects.

Methodist Health System employs some of the world's most advanced diagnostic equipment and has available a team of highly trained medical professionals.

The technologies used in helping to diagnose cancer include:

  • 3-D Mammography - also known as tomosynthesis, improves on digital mammography by offering an additional layer-by-layer view of the breast. Three-dimensional images can be generated within seconds and magnified and manipulated for optimum clarity. Images are then double checked using the Image checker® enhanced breast screening technology.
  • Ultrasound - During ultrasound or sonography, an ultrasound machine sends sound waves and produces an image of the tissues inside. These images can reveal more information about tissue in the breast, liver, uterus, and kidneys.
  • Stereotactic Biopsy - Stereotactic biopsy uses an X-ray image to guide a needle into an area of the breast. The tissue sample is removed through this needle and is sent to a laboratory to be examined under a microscope. A small amount of benign breast tissue may also be removed during the biopsy as an alternative to open biopsy in surgery. This can provide a quicker, less invasive alternative to surgery with a shorter, less painful recovery and a much smaller cut in the breast.
  • Computed Tomography (CT) Scan - CT scans use special X-rays to capture images of internal organs from several different angles. The images are sent to a computer, which generates cross-sections of body tissues and organs. Our rapid CT scanner is the latest CT equipment available, producing 32 images each second. This speed improves the clarity and quality of the final image, which allows for a more accurate diagnosis. CT scans can also be done very comfortably and quickly, often in as few as seven minutes. The final images show several types of tissue very clearly, including organs such as the liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, lungs, esophagus, and stomach. CT imaging can uncover cancers in many parts of the body.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - MRI is a preferred cancer screening test because they use magnetic waves instead of radiation to create detailed pictures of internal structures. MRIs produce higher quality images than most CT scanners but the tests are more expensive and take more time.
  • Interventional Radiology - Interventional radiology is a subspecialty of radiology that uses imaging to perform procedures like a CT-guided biopsy or an angiogram. Mediports can also be placed and removed by interventional radiologists.
  • Bronchoscopy - This is a direct examination of the airways in the lungs with a long, thin tube called a bronchoscope that has a tiny light and camera mounted on it. Bronchoscopy can find tumors, blood clots, structural problems, and infections.
  • Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS) - EBUS can detect large lymph nodes in the chest, making it ideal for diagnosing lung cancer and other lymph node disorders.
  • Colonoscopy - This procedure is a routine procedure for patients age 50. In this test, a long, flexible, tube-shaped camera is inserted into the colon. The camera sends video to a monitor where the physician can look for cancerous abnormalities.
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound -This technique uses an endoscope that is connected to an ultrasound machine. Because it can visualize all of the layers of muscle and tissue in the esophagus, it is the best technique to determine the extent (depth) of the tumor and if there has been any spread to the lymph nodes in the neck
  • PET Scan - A PET scan is a comprehensive scan that examines the whole body, providing information on the internal organs and structures. This scan can highlight cancerous tumors it discovers in the body.
  • Lung cancer screening

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