General Information of Cancer
Cancer treatment involves a complete evaluation of cancer including the type of cancer and the volume of the disease. The type of cancer is usually determined by a biopsy report. It is very important to review a biopsy report with a good histopathologist and your treating doctor will recommend this whenever necessary. The staging of the disease is usually done radiologically and a wide variety of tests may be asked for depending on the nature of cancer. Radiological investigations vary in accuracy and quality from the centre to centre and must be done from a reputed centre. At times a biopsy needs to be done from an area of the body which is not easily accessible and hence may have to be done under radiological guidance. In most cases, a CT scan may be asked for or an MRI.
PET scan or PET CT is a scan done to decide the extent of spread of cancer in the entire body and is a scan based on the functioning of the cancer cells. It is the most accurate assessment of the spread of cancer. However, it must be done only on the advice of an experienced oncologist and not for the sake of curiosity.
Tumour markers are important tests which are done for the diagnoses, prognosis or to detect recurrence of cancer. They must be interpreted by and done only on the advice of an oncologist or else they create unnecessary confusion.
In this age of information, it is my advice to all patients and their families to have faith in the doctor treating them. Wisdom and experience count for a lot more than information. The doctor-patient relationship is fast eroding in the face of corporate healthcare. Cancer is not an easy disease to either bear for the patient or for the doctor to treat. This website is my tribute to all those who have faced cancer with courage and fortitude especially my patients who will always remain dear to me.