Hunter Cancer Centre
Part of Ramsay Health Care

Different Tests & Procedures

Common tests & procedures

Some people require different tests and procedures during the course of their disease and treatment. Below is a brief explanation of the different tests and procedures.

Ultrasound & scans Pictures taken of the body areas/ organs using sound waves/x-rays. Sometimes a radio-opaque dye is injected or swallowed to enhance the pictures. These pictures detect/ monitor abnormalities of organs or body cavities.
Blood test A great number of tests can be performed on blood including cell counts, electrolytes, drug levels and tumour markers.
X-rays Plain x-ray of a body part (e.g. chest), monitor events in the body
(e.g. infection in the lungs).

There are several ways fluid or drugs can be given directly into the blood stream. The most common ways is by

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.