Getting An Accurate Diagnosis

Receiving an accurate diagnosis is the most important step in receiving the best possible treatment for your particular type of cancer.

Our patients benefit from a team of medical oncologists, radiologists, pathologists and surgeons who work together to provide a diagnosis and treatment plan designed specifically for you.

During your diagnostic appointment, it is a good idea to plan on having a friend, family member or support person accompany you. They can help take down important information, help recall the conversation between you and your physician, and be of general support.

Getting A Second Opinion

If you have already received a cancer diagnosis, you may want to meet with a cancer specialist at Penn to get a second opinion. Getting a second opinion will give you the confidence that you are pursuing the best possible treatment for your cancer and your circumstances. A second opinion may confirm your current diagnosis or provide you with additional information that could lead to more effective treatment.

In order to provide you with the most accurate diagnosis and the best care possible, we request that you obtain your medical records from your referring physician before your visit with us. Your records may include laboratory tests, reports, films or discs, pathology slides, and/or other diagnostic tests.

Remote Second Opinions

We offer remote second opinions through our Connected Care telemedicine program for brain tumor patients from seven U.S. states and Washington, D.C. Remote second opinions are also available for international patients with a variety of diagnoses. Learn more about remote second opinions.

Insurance Coverage Considerations

Many health insurance policies cover the costs associated with a second opinion without a referral. However, you should contact your insurance provider to confirm what your coverage is for additional opinions.

Advanced Diagnostic Tests and Tools for Accuracy

We are highly experienced in using the most advanced techniques for diagnosing cancer.

In addition to microscopic pathologic analysis, our pathologists commonly perform specialized techniques including immunohistochemical analyses, electron microscopy and molecular studies. All of these advanced tests ensure the highest quality of tumor diagnosis.

The Importance of a Tissue Biopsy

A biopsy is a procedure that involves removing a small piece of tissue or a sample of cells so that it can be analyzed to accurately determine whether you have cancer. For most forms of cancer, the only way to make a definitive diagnosis is to perform a biopsy. If you have not already had a tissue biopsy, one will be performed to confirm your diagnosis and plan your individualized treatment.