a. After this testing, it typically takes a few days to 2 weeks to review the results and confirm your diagnosis. Getting your test results can take time because your care team is working hard to determine an accurate diagnosis for you.
b. Many health care professionals collaborate in the process and provide expert analysis, including your oncologist (cancer doctor), radiologist, and pathologist. Years of experience studying lung cancer every day means your pathologist can accurately identify critical details, such as whether the cancer:
i. Is invades into the skin or just involves the top layer of the skin (epidermis), including a measurement of the tumor thickness
ii. Shows ulceration, where tumor cells push through the epidermis
iii. Is aggressive or slow growing, which can be determined by looking at the type and number of growing and dividing cells, called mitotic figures
iv. Contains particular types of molecules that indicate the cancer subtype
c. Your care team will also determine the stage of your cancer. Staging describes the size of the cancer and whether (and how far) it has spread. Staging is the most important step in planning your treatment.
Learn about non-melanoma cancer stages »