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Common Tests

and Procedures




Some people require different tests and procedures during the treatment and these are less confronting when you have some understanding about what they are used for and what might be involved.

Ultrasound and Scans Pictures are taken of the body and specific organs using sound waves/X-rays. Sometimes a radio-opaque dye is injected or swallowed to enhance the pictures. These pictures detect or monitor abnormalities of organs or body cavities. They are generally painless and sometimes fasting may be required.
Blood test A great deal of information can be discovered by studying blood. Doctors can use a simple blood test to monitor cell counts, electrolyte status, drug levels and tumour markers.
X-rays Simple X rays are used to detect and monitor the condition of organs or to glean information about disease progression. Usually X-rays are only used in preliminary testing.

There are several ways fluid or drugs can be given directly into the blood stream.

Peripheral cannula – A small tube is inserted with a needle guide into your arm or hand. A cap (bung) may be attached, or a line and a bag of fluid.

Portacath – This is an implantable device inserted by minor surgery, under the skin on the chest area and a tube threaded into a major vessel near the heart. This device stays in place from months to years. A special needle is inserted through the skin into the device (accessing) and drugs/fluids may be infused and blood collected.

PICC Line – A peripheral device that is inserted in a large vein above your elbow area. The tube is positioned in the major vessel near the heart similar to a portacath.

This line is used for short term use of a couple of months. Blood can also be collected through this device.
PET Scan Positron emission tomography (PET). Gives a three-dimensional image or picture of functional processes in the body.
MRI Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). Used to visualise detailed internal structures and limited function of the body.