Williams Cancer Institute

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO TO UNDERSTAND YOUR CANCER DIAGNOSIS?

After finding out that you have cancer disease, the news can be somewhat complicated to understand both for the patient and the people around him, which is why all the information about the condition must be known very well, as the types of treatments that exist.

Each patient has a different case, and it is essential to understand the disease’s phase or state. The doctor can help understand all doubts regarding the illness and thus understand the changes the body is going through and what treatment possibilities the patient has.

Moreover, having a cancer diagnosis creates a lot of worry and stress for patients and their families. It is common to have many doubts and concerns about cancer and how the patient got it.

Cancer is obtained when cells grow uncontrollably and outnumber normal cells, this causes the body to start working differently, and these cancer cells can move to other areas of the body, which is called metastasis.

Another common question that a patient asks himself when diagnosed with cancer is to know the stage in which the cancer is; for this, it is necessary to carry out more tests and thus determine how advanced the cancer is; these tests help the doctor determines the type of treatment the patient needs.

It is difficult to know why cancer appears in the body; some factors make this disease occur more efficiently, such as family history, age, and harmful habits such as the consumption of alcoholic beverages, tobacco, being overweight, and other external factors.

Understanding and accepting this new situation is difficult for the patient and will take time. Later, the patient could make decisions related to the type of treatment, as long as they are appropriate for the patient’s body, according to the results obtained from a biopsy, blood tests, physical examinations, and imaging studies (x-rays and tomographies), in conjunction with whatever problems the cancer is causing.

Most patients will have some form of genetic testing in current cancer treatment.  This is not to see if you inherited cancer; this is to look at the mutations a tumor has that are different from your own body.  This can, in some cases, leads to information on targeted therapies.  In addition, all patients should be tested for their potential response to standard immunotherapy; this includes MMR, TMB, and PD-L1.  In some cases, measuring tumor DNA in the blood, such as Signatera, can help follow your response to therapy.

It is essential always to clarify all doubts with the doctor and be constantly informed of the entire process of coping with the disease and undergoing treatment against the disease.

References: Sociedad Americana Contra El Cáncer, noviembre 20, 2020, Cómo comprender su diagnóstico. (s. f.), https://www.cancer.org/es/tratamiento/como-comprender-su-diagnostico.html

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