oncology services

Cancer Diagnosis

An accurate cancer diagnosis helps us tailor your treatment plan.

Our specialists assess all types and stages of cancer. We use advanced technology, including noninvasive options whenever possible.

We determine which tests you need and discuss them with you. Our team makes sure you are prepared and informed for each step of your care.

Advanced diagnostic methods for cancer

The more accurate the cancer diagnosis, the better we can plan your care. Our services include many of the same advances you would find in large, urban or academic medical centers. Our patients are often surprised by the services we offer so close to home. Adventist Health Sonora’s experienced radiologists and pathologists assess all types and stages of cancer, including unusual and complex cases. We have the expertise to get you the answers you need, quickly.

Genetic testing and Tumor DNA Sequencing for cancer

Research has shown that up to 10% of cancers are due to factors passed from one generation to the next. These syndromes are known as hereditary cancers.

Genetic testing can help determine if you are at increased risk for developing certain types of cancer. These tests help us make a timely, accurate diagnosis and customize a treatment plan for you.

Genetic testing works by searching for specific changes in your genes.

Tumor DNA Sequencing is checking for DNA mutations of your specific cancer cells.

A discussion with your oncologist is necessary to determine if you should proceed with Genetic Testing or Tumor DNA sequencing.

You should consider genetic testing if you have a personal or family history of cancer and meet any of these criteria:

  • Cancer diagnosed before age 50
  • Several different types of cancer that have occurred independently
  • Several close blood relatives that have the same type of cancer
  • Unusual cases for a specific cancer type (for example, breast cancer in a man; ovarian cancer at any age)
  • Being a member of a racial/ethnic group with an increased risk of having a certain hereditary cancer syndrome
  • Any other factor that increases your risk of developing cancer

Imaging tests

Advanced diagnostic technology helps give us accurate information about your condition. We use noninvasive and minimally invasive imaging methods whenever possible, including:

  • Angiography: Uses x-ray, CT or MRI to take pictures of blood vessels
  • Bronchoscopy: Allows your doctor to look inside your lungs using a tiny video camera
  • Computerized tomography (CT): Captures a series of detailed pictures in just a few seconds
  • Low-dose CT: Offers people at high risk for lung cancer with an effective annual screening program
  • Echocardiography: Produces live images of your heart using sound waves
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Uses magnets to produce detailed images
  • Mammography: Uses low-energy X-rays to see inside the breasts
  • Nuclear medicine (NM): Measures chemical reactions in your cells to show early signs of cancer
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET/CT): Gives sharp views of anatomical features revealing lesions, tumors and metastases
  • Stereotactic guided biopsy: Uses a special mammography machine to help guide the radiologist’s biopsy equipment
  • Ultrasound: Uses sound waves to create images
  • X-ray: Creates images using small amounts of radiation

Lab tests

Your doctor may also order laboratory tests, such as blood tests. We offer convenient on-site diagnostic labs, so you don’t need to travel to another location.


If imaging and lab tests suggest you may have cancer, your doctor will order a biopsy to make a definitive diagnosis. During this procedure, we remove and examine a sample of cells or tissues to check for cancer.

Getting a diagnosis helps us tailor a treatment plan that’s right for you. Your doctor will explain your diagnosis, answer your questions and recommend the next steps for treatment.


After your diagnosis, your doctor will consult with other specialists and work with you to create a personalized care plan. You’ll receive one or more treatments, including chemotherapyradiation therapyimmunotherapy or surgery.

For more information, call the Diana J. White Cancer Institute at (209) 536-6940.