Minnesota Oncology

Testing Overview

The testing center is an overview of the tests related to detecting, diagnosing and monitoring cancer. There are two main types of tests used for these purposes: screening tests and diagnostic tests.

Screening tests are used for people who do not have any symptoms of cancer, but are at high risk for developing certain types of cancer. For many types of cancer, progress in the area of cancer screening has offered promise for earlier detection, which often results in higher cure rates.

Some types of cancer are more common and, as a result, physicians have been able to develop specific screening tests to search for the presence of those cancers. Another area of screening is genetic testing. Predictive genetic testing is used to determine if an individual has a genetic mutation that may predispose him/her to developing cancer.

To learn more about genetic testing and other screening tests, please visit Screening Tests.

Diagnostic tests are used to accurately diagnose disease, determine prognosis, and monitor cancer for progression or recurrence. Diagnostic tests are used to diagnose primary disease, identify cancer subtype, predict prognosis, direct treatment, evaluate response to treatment, detect minimal residual disease, and monitor remission or progression. There are a number of diagnostic tests that fall into five categories: pathology, diagnostic imaging, blood tests, tumor marker tests, and genomics.

To learn more about these tests, visit Diagnostic and Monitoring Tests.

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