An accurate diagnosis is the first step in developing a personalized cancer treatment plan. At Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health South Florida, we give you access to the latest diagnostic testing methods for cancer, directed by physicians and staff who are specially trained in those techniques.

Miami Cancer Institute’s diagnostic team is comprised of physicians across many medical specialties, including radiation oncologists and pathologists. They use advanced procedures to identify the exact type, location, extent and stage of cancer. Their goal is to provide a precise diagnosis so you receive the most appropriate and effective cancer care.

Your care team at the Institute may recommend one or more of the following diagnostic testing methods to diagnose your condition and plan your treatment:

  • Laboratory tests. These include blood tests and urine tests. Abnormal amounts of certain substances in your blood or urine can indicate cancer. A laboratory test almost always leads to an imaging test and biopsy to confirm your diagnosis.
  • Imaging tests. Imaging tests use X-rays, sound waves or magnetic fields to create detailed pictures of the inside of the body. Radiation oncologists at the Institute use imaging tests to locate tumors and determine their size. This helps your cancer care team diagnose and stage the cancer and plan its treatment. Examples of imaging tests used to diagnose cancer include X-ray imaging, mammograms, computed tomography (CT) scan, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) scan and nuclear medicine imaging.
  • Biopsy. This is an examination of a tissue sample from the body. The tissue sample is usually taken from a tumor, a suspicious area on the skin, or another area within the body where there is unexplained infection or inflammation. At the Institute, pathologists who specialize in cancer examine biopsies to confirm if a tumor or suspicious area is cancerous. If cancer cells are present, they have the knowledge to identify the exact type or subtype of cancer and the cancer’s stage. There are many ways to do a biopsy. The method used depends on the location of the tissue sample and the size needed. Types of biopsies used for small tissue samples include fine needle aspiration biopsy, core needle biopsy, shave biopsy, punch biopsy, bone marrow biopsy and endoscopic biopsy. These do not require incisions. Surgical biopsies are performed when larger tissue samples are needed and include incisional biopsies (removal of part of a tumor) and excisional biopsies (all of the tumor is removed).

Your care team tells you what to expect before each test so you are prepared and comfortable. If cancer is found, repeat lab and imaging tests may be needed to monitor your progress after treatment begins and ends.

Second Read and Second Opinion Services FAQs

A cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, especially when you’re making decisions about treatment. Having more than one medical professional review your case and offer their insight can ensure you receive the best and most appropriate care.

At Miami Cancer Institute, we offer second read and second opinion services to new or existing patients. These services provide patients with independent case reviews that can broaden the cancer treatments available to them. Keep reading to learn more about our second read and second opinion services.

  • For a second read, one of our expert radiologists will review your diagnostic images from another healthcare institution to confirm a cancer diagnosis.

    For a second opinion, one of our skilled pathologists will review your pathology slides from another healthcare organization to confirm a cancer diagnosis.

    These reviews can offer an additional perspective on your case, which could help guide your treatment journey.

  • If you’re a new patient at Miami Cancer Institute, our Patient Intake Department will work with you to gather your medical records from previous institutions before your first appointment. This includes diagnostic scans and pathology slides and reports from your current healthcare provider that led to your diagnosis.

    During your first visit to Miami Cancer Institute, we will perform a second read or second opinion of your scans and slides. An expert radiologist will review any imaging scans and a pathologist will review any slides and reports.

    After their review, the radiologist and/or pathologist will issue an official report and send it to your doctor, who will then meet with you to discuss the results. Depending on the results, you may also receive additional testing to explore all your treatment options.

  • When it comes to a cancer diagnosis, getting another doctor’s perspective can help you confirm your original diagnosis and help you better understand your treatment options. Sometimes, second reads and opinions could modify your diagnosis and widen the options available for treating your cancer, such as clinical trials and novel treatments.

    If you’re a new patient at Miami Cancer Institute, reviewing scans or pathology slides from your case provides your doctor with the most detailed and accurate information about your cancer. That way, they can prescribe the most effective treatment plan.

  • Second read and second opinion services are standard practice at most major cancer centers. In fact, it’s routine to have another healthcare provider review information about your case. Doing so helps patients receive the highest level of care and may help determine the most effective treatment options.

  • We bill our second read and second opinion services to your insurance, just like any other medical service. However, depending on your insurance, you may be responsible for co-pays, co-insurance, deductibles or certain out-of-pocket expenses. Contact your insurance company to learn more about what is covered.

Cutting-Edge Treatment In One Place

Cutting-Edge Treatment In One Place

Baptist Health Miami Cancer Institute offers one of the world’s most comprehensive and advanced radiation oncology programs, including South Florida’s first proton therapy center. We are the only cancer center in the world to offer all the latest radiation therapies in one place, enabling us to choose the treatment that’s right for you.

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