Diagnosis: Imaging & Pathology
Cancer diagnosis begins with the team that reviews your blood work, tests and biopsies and analyzes them for abnormalities. Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital’s diagnostic imaging specialists and pathologists work with your oncologist to provide the correct diagnosis and treatment of various forms of cancer, including breast, prostate, head/neck, colon/rectal, skin, lung, kidney, bladder and testes cancers.
Our state-of-the-art digital imaging technology, combined with the experience of our board-certified radiologists in seven subspecialties, offer the best expertise available in medicine today. And our board-certified pathologists are highly qualified experts in examining blood and tissue samples to identify cancer.
When diagnosing cancer, your doctor may use one or more of the following approaches. For patients facing a possible diagnosis of breast cancer, all these tests are performed at our Posy Krehbiel Breast Care Center for optimal sensitivity and care.
- Physical exam. During a physical exam, your doctor may feel areas of your body for lumps that may indicate a tumor; or any abnormalities that may indicate cancer, such as changes in skin color or enlargement of an organ. To find a Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital physician, visit our Online Physician Directory.
- Laboratory tests. Laboratory tests, such as urine and blood tests, may help your doctor identify abnormalities that can be caused by cancer. For more information and locations, visit our Laboratory Services.
- Imaging Tests. Imaging tests allow your doctor to examine your bones and internal organs in a noninvasive way. Tests used in diagnosing cancer may include a CT scan, PET/CT, MRI, ultrasound, bone scan and X-ray, among others.
Our state-of-the-art digital imaging technology, combined with the experience of our board-certified radiologists, offers the best available expertise and treatment. In fact, several of our radiologists have subspecialty training in Women’s Imaging, making them highly qualified to read and interpret breast images. Learn more about our Diagnostic Imaging Centers.
- Biopsy. During a biopsy, your doctor collects a sample of cells for testing in the laboratory. There are several different ways of collecting a biopsy sample, and in most cases, this is the only way to definitively diagnose cancer. Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital’s board-certified pathologists are experts analyzing and determining cancer diagnoses.
Once cancer is diagnosed, your doctor will work to determine the extent, or stage, of your cancer. Certain types of cancer respond very differently to different types of treatment, so figuring out the type of cancer is a key step toward knowing which treatments will work best. Your doctor uses your cancer’s stage to determine your treatment options and your chances for a cure.
Next: learn about Cancer Treatment at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital >