In order to accurately diagnose your disease and propose the most appropriate treatment, it is necessary to undergo a certain number of tests. Below you will find further information on common tests undergone by those affected by cancer.
An MRI (or Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a medical imaging technique using a magnetic field and radio frequencies to create detailed images of organs. It involves the patient lying down and being put inside a large tube-shaped machine. The patient may be injected with a contrast agent to improve the quality of the images, but the test is otherwise painless. Once the MRI is performed, the images are analyzed by a radiologist. MRI is used to diagnose many types of tumors .
A CT (or computerized tomography) scan is a medical imaging technique which combines a series of X-ray images to detect anomalies in organs. The patient lies on a table, the C-arm is placed at the level of the area to be examined and rotates around the patient. CT scans may require a contrast agent and are painless. They are also used to monitor the effectiveness of chemotherapy or to assist in a biopsy.
A biopsy consists of removing a small piece of organ or tissue with a needle during surgery, an ultrasound scan or an endoscopy. The sample is then analyzed (pathological examination) to detect the presence of cancerous cells and molecular abnormalities. Almost all tissues of the human body can be removed. The patient is under local or general anesthesia. In oncology, the biopsy is used to establish a diagnosis. Further tests may be required.
Molecular profiling is a type of genomic test that identifies abnormal gene changes that led to the development of cancer. It is part of “precision medicine” and allows for a patient’s treatment to be ultra-personalized.
During this test, the doctor will analyze the tumor (or a blood sample, called a “liquid biopsy”) at a molecular level to gain additional information about the disease, such as its stage and location.
Molecular profiling is not feasible (or useful) in all cancer cases and is not routinely offered.