Diagnostic procedure for detecting malignancy varies from case to case. Diagnostic test depends on many factors, for example: The type of cancer, site of cancer, age of patient, socioeconomic status of the patient, etc. In this page we will highlight some common diagnostic tools that you may come across.


It involves taking out a piece of tissue to see if cancer cells are in it. This can be of various types, for instance- an incisional or core biopsy is when a sample of tissue is removed. An excisional biopsy is when an entire tumor or lesion is removed. A needle biopsy or fine-needle aspiration is when a sample of tissue or fluid is removed with a needle.

Biopsy samples of Colon polyps

Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology (FNAC):

When a lump, or a bump is discovered in superficial areas of the body such as the breast and neck, a test known as Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology (FNAC) is recommended to determine whether the lump is cancer. It is a procedure in which a thin needle is used to remove fluid or cells to be examined under a microscope. Sometimes a CT scan or other imaging tool is helpful to guide the needle. This is a relatively easy way of detecting cancer cells. It may not be as effective as a biopsy.

Taking FNAC sample from a Thyroid nodule

PET scan: 

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan uses a special dye containing radioactive tracers. These tracers are introduced inside the body and allowed to spread. The tracer are absorbed by cancer cells and lights up the monitor. PET scan helps to determine if metastasis has occurred. 

PET scan