Diagnostic tests are used to accurately diagnose disease, determine prognosis, and monitor cancer for progression or recurrence. Diagnostic tests are used to diagnose primary disease, identify cancer subtype, predict prognosis, direct treatment, evaluate response to treatment, detect minimal residual disease, and monitor remission or progression. There are a number of diagnostic tests that fall into five categories: pathology, diagnostic imaging, blood tests, tumor marker tests, and genomics.
Diagnosing cancer involves the use of a variety of tests that provide details about abnormal cells, which may have been detected through routine medical examinations, self-examination or reported symptoms of cancer. More information about these cells must be gathered in order to identify and determine how aggressive the particular cancer cells are.