Understanding Your Diagnosis

If you have cancer, you and your loved ones may face many unknowns. Understanding your cancer and knowing what to expect can help you and your loved ones make decisions. Some of the decisions you may face include:

  • Which treatment is best for you
  • If you want treatment
  • How to best take care of yourself and manage treatment¬†side effects
  • How to deal with financial and legal matters

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a symptom or a screening test result that suggests cancer, your doctor must find out whether it is due to cancer or some other cause. The doctor may start by asking about your personal and family medical history and do a physical exam. The doctor also may order lab tests, imaging tests (scans), or other tests or procedures. You may also need a biopsy, which is often the only way to tell for sure if you have cancer.

Patients normally find it easier to cope when they know more about their cancer. You may ask your doctor about survival statistics or search for this information on your own.

Cure means that there are no traces of your cancer after treatment and the cancer will never come back.

Remission means that the signs and symptoms of your cancer are reduced. Remission can be partial or complete. In a complete remission, all signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared.