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Your doctor will:


Look in your eyes, ears, nose, and throat.


Listen to your lungs, heart, and belly



Feel and apply pressure to some parts of your

body to see if organs are of normal size, are

soft or hard, or cause pain when touched.

If something abnormal is found by you or your doctor,

let’s say during a routine visit, you will need to have

more testing done. These tests may include lab tests

that collect blood, urine, or other fluids from your body.

Blood tests

Blood tests are an important part of cancer diagnosis

and. During the diagnosis phase, blood tests will be

used to check your overall health and to look for

signs that cancer is present.

Before blood tests can be run your doctor will need

to get blood samples. This can be done at a doctor’s

office, a laboratory, or in the hospital. The blood is

collected by a nurse or a phlebotomist, a technician

who specializes in taking blood samples.

The complete blood count

It’s likely that you’re going to have quite a few

blood tests during the course of your diagnosis and

treatment. One of the most common is the CBC







ount). The CBC is a measure of

the various types of cells found in the blood, including

the white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.

After your blood is taken, it is checked to find the

actual number of each cell type in the sample. These

numbers are then compared to the normal range for

those cells in a healthy person who is about your age.

Blood chemistry tests

In addition to the CBC, your doctors will probably

order frequent blood chemistry tests to keep track of

what’s happening in other parts of your body. Blood

chemistry tests measure the levels of minerals,

enzymes, and waste products that are normally found


Dealing with the diagnosis

How is cancer diagnosed?

NCCN Guidelines for Patients


Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer, Version 1.2017

Your medical history:

What you share about your medical history will help

determine what treatment is best for you. It’s important

to be honest and tell the doctor everything you know.

Let the doctor know if you drink alcohol, use

recreational drugs such as marijuana, or take over-

the-counter medications, supplements, or natural

treatments. Talk about your sexual history and habits.

Remember, doctors aren’t there to judge you. They

need to learn everything they can about you to make

the best possible choices for your care.