Allergy tests, echocardiograms, biopsies, semen analysis and spinal taps are just a few of the medical diagnostic procedures that are performed on patients diagnose diseases and conditions. These classification procedures do not involve x-ray imaging or a surgical procedure, but, involve taking measurements and samples of fluids, tissues and cells. Learn more about diagnostic procedures from our experts.
1 AnswerJonathan Aviv, MD, Ear, Nose & Throat (Otolaryngology), answered
1 AnswerDuring a digital rectal exam (DRE) for prostate cancer, the doctor will feel for nodules, hardness or lumps in the prostate gland itself. Because the location of the gland is immediately adjacent to the wall of the rectum, it's very simple to locate the prostate and examine it manually. If a lump is found, it could be an indication that there is a cancer growing in the prostate, and further tests will need to be done.
1 AnswerHealthyWomen answeredDigital rectal exams are recommended every 5–10 years with each colon screening from the age of 50. A digital rectal exam is important to help find early signs of colon cancer in the anal canal and lower rectum. Because of its limitations, it is not recommended as the only test for colorectal cancer.
1 AnswerPhilip Lisagor, MD, Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular), answered on behalf of The Rest of Your Life (ROYL)If you have a terminal illness, the doctor's medical checklist may include the following:
- A review of your medical status
- Your status on the frailty index
- A review of your loss history
- A review of your psychological history
- A review of your functional status
1 AnswerPhilip Lisagor, MD, Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular), answered on behalf of The Rest of Your Life (ROYL)If you have a terminal illness, your doctor may ask the following questions when reviewing your functional status:
- How physically active are you?
- How mentally active are you?
- What do you like to do?
- How stable is your weight?
1 AnswerPhilip Lisagor, MD, Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular), answered on behalf of The Rest of Your Life (ROYL)Your doctor may ask the following questions when reviewing your loss history:
- Have you lost any parents or children?
- Have you lost a wife or husband?
- Have you lost some good friends?
- Have you lost pets?
- When did these losses occur?
- How did you deal with these losses?
1 AnswerThe following symptoms are considered in the frailty index:
- Unintentional weight loss
- Decreased grip strength
- Increased fatigue/low energy level
- Slow walking
- Low level of physical activity
1 AnswerYour doctor may ask the following questions when reviewing your medical status if you have a terminal illness:
- What other health problems do you have? Other diagnoses?
- What medications, drugs or treatments are you now taking?
- What treatment options have you been given? Curative, major interventions, or comfort care and hospice?
- Do you live in an urban or rural area? This may affect care options.
1 AnswerPrognosis refers to how serious the doctor believes your medical situation is. A prognosis is usually given in terms of how long you have to live: years, months or weeks.
Doctors are not very good at giving a prognosis. Reasons why include:
- The science of predicting the future is weak.
- Doctors don't like to deliver bad news.
1 AnswerA diagnosis is a name given to your condition, for example:
- Lung cancer
- Cancer of the breast, colon, rectum or pancreas
- Heart failure
- Alzheimer's disease
- Chronic liver, lung or kidney diseases
- Other chronic disabilities or terminal diseases
- Stage 1 (limited)
- Stage 2 & 3 (spread to the lymph nodes)
- Stage 4 (spread throughout the body)
- Stage 1 -- mild
- Stage 2 & 3 -- moderate
- Stage 4 -- severe