Ramsay offer a range of diagnostic tests:
A CT scan combines a series of x-ray images, from different angles around the body, and uses computer processing to create cross-sectional images of bones, blood vessels, soft tissues and organs in 2D and 3D. Most scans require the patient to have an injection of contrast dye to highlight the blood vessels and organs. Consultant Radiologists write a report on the images, this report is then available for your referrer to view.
MRI is a method of using magnetic fields and radio waves to produce a series of images of inside the body. It is especially effective in imaging soft tissues. Some scans require the patient to have an injection of contrast dye to highlight the blood vessels and organs. Consultant Radiologists report on the images, which is then available for your referrer to view.
This uses sound waves to ‘see’ your organs. A microphone is passed over the part of the body to be scanned and the returning sound waves are feed into a computer which then builds up an image of your internal organs and tissues. Occasionally the microphone needs to be inserted into your body to get a better picture - this can be the case when the prostate or ovaries need to be visualised, for example.
This means to look inside - and that is precisely what endoscopes do. They are flexible tubes fitted with a camera which can be inserted into the body to look at areas which are causing concern. Most commonly they are used to look at the colon and bowel (colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy) or down the throat. You may be offered a sedative while the procedure is carried out but will normally be able to go home after a short recovery period.
Your doctor may want you to have blood tests as you are being diagnosed and also during treatment. Your blood can be a good indicator of your general health as well as your particular condition. Some specialist tests look for specific tumour markers in your blood - these are proteins produced either by tumours or in response to them. The results of these tests will be used by your doctor in conjunction with other information; a high level of a marker does not automatically mean you have cancer. Tumour markers can be useful in monitoring how you are responding to treatment and your doctors may want to test you regularly.
Prostate specific antigen is a protein produced by cells in the prostate. An elevated level of PSA in a blood sample can indicate prostate cancer - although high levels are also caused by other benign conditions and levels are generally higher with age. A rising level after treatment for cancer can be an indication that cancer has returned. But PSA levels can be difficult to interpret with any certainty and your doctors may want to consider them along other clinical and diagnostic evidence.