Diagnostic Options in the 6 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 six 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 Cancer - Figure

In the diagram one can see that the CTR-Test®, PCDx™ and Guardant360® help in selecting the therapy directly, particularly selecting drugs. The same information can be found in the table below.

Diagnostic purpose

Question to be answered

Diagnostic alternatives (methods)

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 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.

TherapySelect is also interested to find helpful diagnostics for the other mentioned phases to make these diagnostic methods at an early stage available for patients and physicians.

Aug 24, 2016 By Dr. Frank Kischkel