Diagnostic Options in the 7 Phases of Cancer Disease

With the term “diagnosis” the situation is described that a patient has discomfort and the physician tries to find out the cause (usually a disease). Having the diagnosis the therapy can be selected individually.

Diagnostics are more than the diagnosis, but the task for all diagnostic methods stays the same. They should help finding the suitable therapy. That means that in general diagnostics should have an impact on the therapy. In case there is no impact on therapy the particular diagnostic method is useless.

For cancer one can divide 7 different phases, in which diagnostics are useful. In the different phases different questions are answered. Depending on the question different diagnostic methods are used.

Diagnostic Options in Oncology EN

In the diagram one can see that our diagnostics help in selecting the therapy directly, particularly selecting drugs. The same information can be found in the table below.

Diagnostic purpose Diagnostic question Diagnostic options
Risk evaluation What is my risk to get cancer?
  • Testing of disposition
Cancer screening Do I have cancer?
  • Early detection examination (mammography, sonography, tumor markers, etc.)
Disease determination What do I have particularly?
  • Pathological findings,
  • imaging methods,
  • molecular biological methods,
  • tumor markers
Therapy selection Which therapy is best for me?
Therapy dosage Which amount of medication do I need?
  • Guidelines and dosing according to body surface area
  • Guidelines and dosing according to target AUC
  • feedback principle (therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM))
  • pharmacogenetics
Therapy monitoring Can my treatment be optimized?
  • Tumor markers,
  • imaging methods
Follow-up care Is the therapy success sustainable?
  • Tumor markers,
  • imaging methods


Important to note:

  • Both services are meant to support the existing cancer care. They are mostly used when no clear treatment regimen can be recommended. This is the situation for the following cases:
    • Several chemotherapeutic agents are equally suitable for treating a certain type of cancer (according to guidelines).
    • Recurrent tumors, when there are no guidelines available.
    • Origin of the tumor is unknown.
    • Rare tumor types, for which no guidelines exist.
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