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Cancer Diagnosis

If the cancer screening test results were found to be positive, you will need to undergo a diagnostic test to confirm the presence or absence the disease, or other medical condition.

Diagnosis test are medical procedures:

  • A medical procedure which doctor removes a sample of tissue, of which inspected under a microscope
  • It can be done with a needle, an endoscope or surgery
Laboratory test
  • Lab test to be conducted on blood, urine or other body fluids, in measuring substances
  • It is usually used in combination with other diagnosis procedures
Imaging Procedures
  • A medical procedure used to produce images of areas inside your body. These images are used in indicate the presence of tumour.
  • Examples of imaging procedure are: CT scan, Nuclear scan, ultrasound, MRI, PET scan, X-rays


Screening tests Diagnostic tests
Purpose To detect potential disease indicators To establish presence/absence of disease
Target population Large numbers of asymptomatic, but potentially at-risk individuals Symptomatic individuals to establish diagnosis, or asymptomatic individuals with a positive screening test
Test method Simple, acceptable to patients and staff Maybe invasive, expensive but justifiable as necessary to establish diagnosis
Positive result threshold Generally chosen towards high sensitivity not to miss potential disease Chosen towards high specificity (true negatives). More weight given to accuracy and precision than to patient acceptability
Positive result Essentially indicates suspicion of disease (often used in combination with other risk factors) that warrants confirmation Result provides a definite diagnosis
Cost Cheap, benefits should justify the costs since large numbers of people will need to be screened to identify small number of potential cases Higher costs associated with diagnostic test maybe justified to establish diagnosis


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