Latest advances in cancer diagnosis

Posted on 24/04/2024

Cancer is a generic term for a large group of diseases that can affect any part of the body. Other terms used are malignant tumour and neoplasms. One defining feature of cancer is the rapid creation of abnormal cells that grow beyond their usual boundaries, and which can then invade adjoining parts of the body and spread to other organs; the latter process is referred to as metastasis. Widespread metastases are the primary cause of death from cancer.

Early and accurate diagnosis of cancer is crucial for effective treatment and improved patient outcomes. To diagnose cancer, medical professionals use a variety of diagnostic tools and technologies. Some of the most common cancer diagnostic equipment include imaging tests, biopsy procedures, and laboratory tests.Recently there has been many advancements in diagnosis techniques and equipment.

How is Cancer diagnosed?

Cancer cannot be accurately diagnosed by a single test. A thorough history and physical examination, as well as diagnostic tests, are typically necessary for a patient's full evaluation. To assess whether a person has cancer or whether another disorder (such an infection) is imitating the symptoms of cancer, numerous tests are required.

Effective diagnostic testing is used to confirm or rule out the presence of disease, track the progression of the condition, and organize and assess treatment. When a patient's condition changes, a poor-quality sample was obtained, or an aberrant test result needs to be validated, it may be essential to repeat the test.

Imaging, laboratory tests (including tests for tumor markers), tumor biopsy, endoscopic examination, surgery, or genetic testing are all examples of diagnostic techniques for cancer.

Latest equipment for cancer diagnosis

  • Liquid biopsy: A liquid biopsy is a non-invasive test that uses a blood sample to detect cancer cells or DNA from cancer cells in the bloodstream. This test can provide real-time information about the presence and progression of cancer.
  • Molecular imaging: Molecular imaging is a cutting-edge technology that combines imaging with molecular biology to detect and visualize the molecular changes that occur in cancer cells. This technology can help diagnose cancer in its early stages an.d monitor its progression.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML): AI and ML are being used in cancer diagnosis to analyze large amounts of medical data and images to identify patterns and anomalies that may indicate cancer.
  • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS): EUS is a minimally invasive diagnostic tool that uses a flexible scope with an ultrasound probe to visualize the internal organs and tissues. EUS can be used to diagnose cancer in the digestive tract and other organs.
  • Proton therapy: Proton therapy is a type of radiation therapy that uses a beam of protons to treat cancer. This technology is more precise than traditional radiation therapy and can reduce the risk of side effects by targeting only the cancerous cells.
  • Radiography: X-rays and other radiographic tests (also known as radiographs, roentgenograms, and contrast studies) help doctors look for cancer in different parts of the body including bones, and organs like the stomach and kidneys. X-rays are typically fast, painless, and there’s no special preparation needed
  • These are some of the latest and advanced diagnostic tools for cancer. However, it is important to note that not all of these tools are suitable for all patients and cancer types, and a combination of multiple diagnostic methods may be needed for an accurate diagnosis.