We use a variety of techniques to look at different cells, tissues and bodily functions so we can understand your condition and help plan the best care for you.
What is a pathology test?
Pathology tests look at cells and tissues or the structure and function of organs in your body to investigate disease. We use pathology tests to diagnose symptoms, assess your condition and evaluate how well treatments are working to help us plan care that’s personalised to you.
Pathology tests can involve taking a tissue sample and examining it in a lab, using tiny cameras to visualise the inside of your body or studying how well a particular organ or system is working.
Within our network of state-of-the-art centres, we offer a comprehensive pathology service covering many different specialties, including breast, prostate and gynaecology. We use the latest proven screening and diagnostic techniques, conducted by experienced clinicians.
You can read more about the pathology tests available at GenesisCare below.
What is a biopsy?
During a biopsy, a needle is inserted into your tissues and extracts cells for analysis. It’s used to investigate abnormal cells in areas of suspected cancer, for example a lump in the breast, and is a useful tool for diagnosing cancers.
Common types of biopsy
- Fine needle aspiration
Fine needle aspirate, or FNA, is a quick procedure where a thin and hollow needle is inserted into a lump or mass below the surface of the skin. It can be used to remove samples of tissue or fluid
- Core biopsy
Core biopsy is the most common type of procedure used when a larger tissue sample is needed, where a thin, hollow needle is inserted through the skin
- Ultrasound-guided biopsy
Sometimes, your consultant may use an ultrasound scan to guide them to the precise area of abnormal tissue where the sample is to be taken from. This can also be done using other imaging techniques including X-ray (stereotactic biopsy), CT or MRI
Biopsy for prostate cancer
If you have suspected prostate cancer, you may have a prostate biopsy in order to obtain a sample of cells from your prostate for further investigation in a lab.
- Transrectal ultrasound biopsy
A transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) biopsy is performed with your consultant using an ultrasound probe placed in the back passage to produce live images of your prostate. The needle passes through the wall of your back passage into the prostate
- Transperineal prostate biopsy
During a transperineal prostate biopsy procedure, your consultant will use an ultrasound probe to create images of your prostate, as well as information from your previous MRI scan, to accurately guide a needle through your perineum to take samples of your prostate tissue
Biopsy for blood cancers
If you have suspected blood cancer, your consultant may take a small sample of bone marrow, usually from your pelvis (hip bone), for further analysis. Bone marrow tests are useful for diagnosing leukaemia, myeloma and lymphoma. There are two types of bone marrow test:
- Bone marrow aspirate biopsy – a small amount of bone marrow fluid is withdrawn using a needle
- Bone marrow trephine biopsy – your consultant will remove a small core of bone marrow tissue
- Find out more about bone marrow tests, including what to expect at your appointment and where we offer them.
When the results of your biopsy become available, your consultant will contact you. They'll talk through what your results mean and let you know if further tests or treatments are needed. They'll also be able to answer any questions you might have.
What is a blood test?
A blood test is a collection of laboratory experiments on a sample of your blood to look for infections, analyse levels of circulating proteins, hormones and other substances, or to see if certain organs are functioning properly.
During a colposcopy, a device called a speculum is placed within your vagina and gently opened so that your doctor can investigate abnormal cells in the cervix. It’s often performed after your results have come back from a routine cervical screening showing abnormal cells.
What is a cystoscopy?
A cystoscopy is a test where a thin camera, known as a cystoscope, is passed along your urethra to inspect the inside of the bladder. Cystoscopies are helpful for finding out the causes of bladder symptoms, can be used alongside a biopsy, or can help deliver treatment.
Types of cystoscopy
- Flexible cystoscopy – the cystoscope is bendy, and the procedure is carried out while you are awake with local anaesthetic
- Rigid cystoscopy – the cystoscope is wider and stiff, because of this, the procedure will likely be performed with you under general anaesthetic
What is genetic testing?
A genetic test involves analysing your DNA analysis to see if you are inherited any harmful genetic faults, known as mutations, which can increase your risk of certain cancers. Your doctor may recommend testing either one of your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes if you have a family history of breast and ovarian cancer.
What is a smear test?
A smear test helps identify any cells that are susceptible to becoming cancerous. A sterile plastic brush is used to remove cells from inside your cervix and these will then be analysed further under a microscope.
What are urodynamic studies?
Urodynamic studies (UDSs) are a collection of tests which investigate how well your bladder, sphincter and urethra can hold and release urine. They’re helpful for finding out the causes for a range of bladder symptoms and can to help diagnose an enlarged prostate. These kinds of tests can be called a bladder scan or urinary flow analysis.