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Diagnosing Cancer

Cancer diagnosis is a process that confirms if cancer is present, whether it is benign or malignant and, if malignant, how aggressive it is. The process can involve any of the following steps:

10 common diagnostic steps1

  1. Full examination – anesthesia may be required
  2. Blood tests and urinalysis
  3. X-rays (bones and lungs)
  4. Ultrasound
  5. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  6. Fluid biopsy – fine-needle withdrawal of fluids and lab work (cytology)
  7. Solid biopsy – solid-tissue removal and lab work (histopathology)
  8. Tissue stain
  9. Exploratory surgery
  10. Staging – determining the size of the tumor, its primary site and if it has spread

During the diagnostic process, your veterinarian will be better able to determine the most effective treatment program. At this time, your veterinarian also may involve or refer you to a veterinarian who specializes in oncology.