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hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer

differential diagnosis
Main article: Differential diagnosis
The method of differential diagnosis is based on finding as many candidate diseases or conditions as possible that can possibly cause the signs or symptoms, followed by a process of elimination or at least of rendering the entries more or less probable by further medical tests and other processing until, aiming to reach the point where only one candidate disease or condition remains as probable. The final result may also remain a list of possible conditions, ranked in order of probability or severity.

The resultant diagnostic opinion by this method can be regarded more or less as a diagnosis of exclusion. Even if it does not result in a single probable disease or condition, it can at least rule out any imminently life-threatening conditions.

Unless the provider is certain of the condition present, further medical tests, such as medical imaging, are performed or scheduled in part to confirm or disprove the diagnosis but also to document the patient’s status and keep the patient’s medical history up to date.

If unexpected findings are made during this process, the initial hypothesis may be ruled out and the provider must then consider other hypotheses.