There is or there was a tumor

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The figure above summarizes the complex diagrams presented in sections

A tumor has just been found,

There was a tumor, but things are going well now, and

There’s a tumor and things aren’t going well

 and illustrates the complete pathway of the patient from the beginning to the end of the disease; the outcome may be positive (cure) or negative (advanced phase of disease). Those who consult the website can easily identify which step in this pathway they are specifically interested in. By clicking on a particular box, they will be directed to that specific section of the website.

1. In the case of any tumor, the first problem that arises is to be sure of the diagnosis; a sure diagnosis is reached by means of radiological examinations, which are almost always supplemented by a biopsy.

2. The next step is to establish the gravity of the disease by means of “staging”; this means determining the local spread of the tumor and searching for possible metastases in other organs. These two factors will determine whether or not the tumor is operable.

3. The third step is to begin treatment. Depending on the type and the stage of the tumor, treatment may start with:

  1. a surgical operation, preceded and/or followed by chemotherapy or other medical therapy;
  2. radiotherapy or integrated chemo-radiotherapy instead of surgery;
  3. chemotherapy or other medical treatments, without local therapies (surgery or radiotherapy); this approach will be adopted if the disease is discovered when it is already metastatic (i.e., has spread to other organs), as a surgical operation would be useless in most of these cases.

These treatments may be successful, and the patient will begin a period of follow-up,
which generally lasts about 5 years. During this period, scheduled examinations will be carried out and, if there is no relapse of the disease, the patient will be regarded as cured.
Alternatively, despite treatment, the disease may unfortunately relapse and progress, spreading metastases to the various organs of the body.

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