STEP 3: Diagnosis, staging and treatment planning

Diagnosis and staging: Work-up should include:

  • history and examination
  • staging: local – MRI, thallium or PET; systemic –bone scan, PET/CT, CT chest
  • image-guided needle core biopsy (NCB) performed after all imaging modalities have been completed and reviewed by the specialist
  • examination of tumour tissue
  • lymph node biopsy if functional imaging is positive or clinical examination suspicious.

All investigations should be completed within two weeks of the first specialist assessment.

Treatment planning: All newly diagnosed patients should be discussed in a multidisciplinary team meeting before beginning treatment.

Research and clinical trials: All patients should be offered the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial or clinical research if appropriate.

Communication – lead clinician to:

  • discuss a timeframe for diagnosis and treatment with the patient/carer
  • explain the role of the multidisciplinary team in treatment planning and ongoing care
  • provide appropriate information or refer to support services as required.