Colon Cancer Diagnosis
At Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute, we are committed to getting your diagnosis as quickly as possible. An accurate diagnosis allows us to determine the most effective treatment for you. Most of our diagnostic tests can be completed within one visit, so you can begin treatment right away.
Expert colon cancer diagnosis at Allegheny Health Network
Our compassionate, knowledgeable team at the Cancer Institute uses sophisticated technology to determine if colon cancer is present and to determine its stage. The stage of cancer refers to how advanced it is and if it has spread. Here’s what you can expect:
- Expedited services: We make diagnosis as easy as possible for you. You can get numerous tests done on the same day.
- Advanced technology: We use a variety of high-quality imaging and diagnostic resources to screen for colon cancer. This technology ensures a precise diagnosis, with as little testing as possible.
- Knowledgeable support: Your Navigation Team walks you through the entire process, addressing any questions or concerns you have. We also offer robust support services to treat the whole person.
Diagnostic procedures for colon cancer
In order to diagnose the cancer, we conduct a physical exam and discuss your symptoms. We proceed with diagnostic tests as needed, including:
- Colonoscopy: We use a thin, flexible tube with a small camera attached to look at the colon.
- Biopsy or polypectomy: If we discover a polyp (mass of cells) during a colonoscopy, we can perform this minimally invasive procedure at the same time. The physician guides a tiny wire loop into the colon to remove the polyp. A specially trained doctor called a pathologist examines the cells under a microscope to determine if they are cancerous.
- Computed tomography (CT) scan: A combination of X-rays and computer technology produces detailed images of the colon, so we can identify the exact location of the cancer.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Powerful magnets and radio waves give technicians a detailed picture of the colon.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan: This test uses a small, safe amount of radioactive material. Before this test, we inject a special radioactive sugar solution into your arm. A scanner captures images of your body. We can detect the tumors easily because they absorb the sugar more than normal tissues do.
Colon cancer treatment
You meet with your team of colon cancer specialists shortly after receiving a diagnosis. They create a personalized treatment plan for you, which may include surgery, chemotherapy, and clinical trials. Find out more about our approach to treating colon cancer.