Published on March 01, 2016

Cancer detectives: See how we find and diagnose cancer

Diagnosing cancer takes an entire team and advanced technology.

And both can be found right here at Mercy Philadelphia.

Here’s a brief look at how we detect, diagnose and assess cancer:


mammogram screeningTests such as CT or MRI scans can alert doctors to cancer—or give them more information when something looks suspicious. For instance, imaging may help:

  • Find cancer before symptoms start. That’s what screening tests like mammograms and colonoscopies are designed to do.
  • Explore cancer signs or symptoms. CT scans can give doctors a closer look at your organs—without surgery. And scopes can be used to see inside the throat and digestive tract.
  • Guide a biopsy. Imaging tests can show doctors where they need to take a sample. 
  • Show the stage of cancer once it’s diagnosed, including whether it has spread.

“Imaging tests are crucial to accurately diagnosing and treating cancer,” says David Mayer, MD, chair, Department of Radiology. “We can often find cancer in its beginning stages because of these tests.”


Not all lumps or growths are cancer. So Mercy pathologists like Joseph M. Jaworski, MD, look at tissue (usually from a biopsy) under a microscope to diagnose cancer. And they help your care team decide on the best treatment for you.

“Our technology is state-of-the-art,” Dr. Jaworski says. So we’re able to get highly accurate results.

“Mercy offers a comprehensive approach to cancer,” says Dr. Jaworski, who specializes in oncology pathology. And that means you’re in good hands here.

Need a test?

To schedule an imaging procedure at Mercy Philadelphia, call 610.237.2525.