Diagnosis using x-ray

An x-ray is a quick procedure that can help to diagnose and monitor a number of different health conditions. X-ray procedures are carried out by radiographers.

X-rays are commonly used to look for fractures in your bones after a fall or injury but they can also be used to look at your organs. For example, an x-ray image of your chest can show whether you have an infection in your lungs.

What to expect during an x-ray?

Depending on the type of examination required, the x-ray may require you to either stand up or lie down on the couch. Your radiographer will position the machine close to the relevant part of your body your doctor needs to look at before taking the image.

X-rays will usually only take a few minutes. You may be asked to remove your clothing, put on a hospital gown and take off your jewellery as required to complete the x-ray your doctor needs to see. There are private changing rooms including personal possession lockers at your disposal.

You will then go to the x-ray room and your radiographer will talk you through the procedure and assist you where needed. You will be asked to stay still and sometimes, particularly if you’re having a chest x-ray, to take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds.

Meet our doctors

Everything we do is focused on designing better care for our patients. With a network of 12 specialist oncology treatment centres across the UK, we provide the most up-to-date treatments and technology as standard.

We attract and retain some of the most experienced doctors in the country, who all have a passion for improving patient outcomes and specialise in the treatment of different types of cancer.

Meet our doctors

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Ultrasound scanning

It uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of the inside of the body. It can show internal organs as well as blood flow, and as a result, ultrasound is used to look for any changes in organs and tissue.

The advantages of ultrasound

Ultrasound is used to look at the breast to identify any suspicious lumps. It enables radiologists to have a clearer picture of the soft tissue so they can work out what is going on in the breast more easily and distinguish potential breast tumours from harmless breast lumps, such as fat lobules or benign (non-cancerous) breast cysts.

It can help detect and classify problems that are not easy to identify using mammography alone, which is often the case in younger women who have dense breast tissue.

Because ultrasound imaging is in ‘real-time’ it helps with other diagnostic tests such as needle biopsies and fine needle aspirations.

What to expect at an ultrasound scan

To perform this, the consultant will place a gel on the relevant part of your skin and gently move a handheld scanner across that area to produce an image on a computer screen. You may be required to remove or loosen clothing to complete the scan.

Meet our doctors

Everything we do is focused on designing better care for our patients. With a network of 12 specialist oncology treatment centres across the UK, we provide the most up-to-date treatments and technology as standard.

We attract and retain some of the most experienced doctors in the country, who all have a passion for improving patient outcomes and specialise in the treatment of different types of cancer.

Meet our doctors

 

Transrectal ultrasound biopsy

A TRUS (trans-rectal ultrasound) biopsy involves the insertion of a small ultrasound probe into the back passage to create an image of the prostate gland during the biopsy. This enables us to see where we are taking samples from in the prostate. We will use an MRI scan that we have already taken as a reference tool during the biopsy. It can guide us to the areas in the prostate where tumours have been detected.

Tiny needles are used to take the prostate tissue samples, which are then examined under a microscope to look for abnormal cells.

The combination of multiparametric MRI and TRUS biopsy means that we can be very accurate with the selection of tissue for examination and in most cases, a TRUS biopsy is the method of choice for suspected prostate cancer.

What to expect during a TRUS biopsy

Biopsies can be uncomfortable, so we use a local anaesthetic to reduce any discomfort during a TRUS biopsy.

Meet our doctors

Everything we do is focused on designing better care for our patients. With a network of 12 specialist oncology treatment centres across the UK, we provide the most up-to-date treatments and technology as standard.

We attract and retain some of the most experienced doctors in the country, who all have a passion for improving patient outcomes and specialise in the treatment of different types of cancer.

Meet our doctors

 

Diagnosis using transvaginal ultrasound

A transvaginal ultrasound is a pelvic ultrasound that is used to see reproductive organs. For example, the uterus, ovaries, cervix, and vagina.

The procedure involves the internal use of an ultrasound wand, rather than simply applying the wand to the outside of the pelvis as done in a regular pelvic ultrasound.

What to expect from a transvaginal ultrasound

You will be asked to remove your clothes and put on a gown or cover for the procedure. You may be asked to have an empty or partially filled bladder at the time of the ultrasound, this will depend on what the doctor is looking for. This is because it lifts the intestines away and allows for a clearer picture of your pelvic organs. You can have this procedure performed during your period or if you’re spotting, but if you are wearing a tampon, you will have to take it out before the ultrasound.

You will need to lie down on an examination table with your feet placed in stirrups. The ultrasound wand will be covered with a condom and lubricating gel and inserted into your vagina.

You may feel some pressure from the wand, similar to that of a speculum, the tool used during a Pap smear. Sound waves will bounce off your internal organs and transmit pictures of the inside of your pelvis onto a monitor. The technician or doctor will move the wand a little bit inside you in order to get a comprehensive picture of your organs.

A special type of transvaginal ultrasound is called a saline infusion sonography (SIS). This procedure involves inserting sterile salt water into the uterus before the ultrasound to help identify any possible masses. The saline solution stretches the uterus slightly, providing a more detailed picture of the inside of the uterus than a conventional ultrasound. Although a transvaginal ultrasound can be done on a pregnant woman, SIS cannot.

There are virtually no risks associated with a transvaginal ultrasound. There may be slight discomfort.

Meet our doctors

Everything we do is focused on designing better care for our patients. With a network of 12 specialist oncology treatment centres across the UK, we provide the most up-to-date treatments and technology as standard.

We attract and retain some of the most experienced doctors in the country, who all have a passion for improving patient outcomes and specialise in the treatment of different types of cancer.

Meet our doctors

 

Transrectal ultrasound for prostate cancer

Transrectal ultrasound creates an image of organs in the pelvis. It involves the insertion of a small ultrasound probe into the back passage to create an image.

The most common reason for transrectal ultrasound is for the evaluation of the prostate gland in men with elevated prostate specific antigen or prostatic nodules on digital rectal exam.

The use of a transrectal ultrasound is most common in combination with a biopsy of the prostate. This is known as TRUS Biopsy.

Meet our doctors

Everything we do is focused on designing better care for our patients. With a network of 12 specialist oncology treatment centres across the UK, we provide the most up-to-date treatments and technology as standard.

We attract and retain some of the most experienced doctors in the country, who all have a passion for improving patient outcomes and specialise in the treatment of different types of cancer.

Meet our doctors

 

Diagnosis using a smear test

The cervix is the lowest part of the womb (uterus). It is often called the neck of the womb. A smear test is performed to prevent cervical cancer, not to diagnose cancer. During each test some cells are removed from the cervix, with a plastic brush. The cells are examined under a microscope to look for early changes that, if ignored and not treated, could develop into cancer of the cervix.

What to expect during a smear test

You will be asked to remove your clothing from the waist down or if you are wearing a loose skirt you may be asked to remove your underwear only. You will be asked to lie on your back on the examination couch and bend your knees, put your ankles together, and let your knees fall open. A speculum will be inserted into your vagina. This gently opens the vagina and allows the cervix to be seen (at the top of the vagina). A thin plastic stick with a small brush at the end is then used to gently scrape some cells from the surface of the cervix. The cells that are obtained on the brush are examined in the laboratory.

Cervical screening tests are not painful, although some women find the speculum uncomfortable. It generally helps if you can relax – this makes the experience better for you.

Meet our doctors

Everything we do is focused on designing better care for our patients. With a network of 12 specialist oncology treatment centres across the UK, we provide the most up-to-date treatments and technology as standard.

We attract and retain some of the most experienced doctors in the country, who all have a passion for improving patient outcomes and specialise in the treatment of different types of cancer.

Meet our doctors

 

Diagnosis using MRI scanning

MRI scanning (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is a type of scan that produces detailed images of inside the body through the use of radio waves and magnetic fields. Essentially it is a large tube containing magnets that you lie inside during the scanning process and it can be used to scan almost any part of your body.

The results of an MRI scan can be used to help diagnose conditions, plan treatments and assess how effective previous treatment has been.

Multiparametric MRI scan

A multiparametric MRI combines several tests to give the consultant a more complete picture of the prostate cancer patient’s condition:

  • Regular MRI scan.
  • Spectroscopic MRI scan which measures chemical concentrations.
  • Dynamic Contrast Enhanced (DCE) MRI scan which evaluates blood flow to tissue.
  • Diffusion Weighted Imaging (DWI) MRI which evaluates cellular packing and disorder.
  • These combined results can tell your consultant the severity of the disease, or effectively guide the taking of a biopsy, and use the outcome to deliver a highly defined treatment plan.
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What to expect from an MRI scan

You will need to lie on a bed which will be moved into the scanner. This may be head first or feet first as it will depend on the area of the body being scanned.

Occasionally, an injection may be required ahead of the scan to administer a solution that will help see parts of the body clearer. This will be discussed with you ahead of the scan taking place.

You will usually be given earphones or earplugs to wear as the scanner will make a noise whilst the scan is being taken. However, you will be able to talk to the radiographer taking the scan through an intercom as they will be watching the scanning process on a computer screen in the room next door.

Keeping still during the scanning process is important as it will ensure a clear image can be taken. Depending on the number of scans required and the size of the area that is needed to be scanned, it can last between 15 and 90 minutes in total.

Most people can have a MRI scan as it is low risk, even pregnant women and babies. However, if you are claustrophobic, the process may make you feel uncomfortable and it is not always possible to use MRI scanning on people with implants, such as pacemakers.

New GenesisCare diagnostics centre in Windsor

The new purpose-built GenesisCare centres in Oxford & Windsor give your insured and self-pay patients fast and easy access to a state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging suite, as well as oncology and wellbeing services, all under one roof. Find out more about what we offer at our centres for our patients.

 

Our Windsor centre is located at:

69 Alma Road
Windsor
SL4 3HD
 

Our Oxford centre is located at:

Sandy Lane West
Peters Way
Oxford
OX4 6LB
 

 

Fine needle aspiration procedure

A fine needle aspiration is a quick and simple procedure. It is used if your consultant wants to take a sample of cells for analysis.

It uses a thin, hollow needle to remove samples of tissue or fluid from a breast lump, usually without having to make a cut in the skin.

What to expect from an FNA procedure

If a lump is small, ultrasound may be used in conjunction with the procedure to help ensure cells are taken from the correct area of the breast.

The skin is cleaned where the needle is to be inserted and in some cases, you may also be given a local anaesthetic to numb the area.

The lump is held steady while the needle is inserted and it may be moved in and out of the area to ensure a large enough sample is obtained. Often there is a syringe attached to the needle that can help draw some of the cells into the needle. The process takes just a few seconds to a few minutes and then the needle will then gently be removed and pressure is applied to help stop any bleeding.
Once a sample has been removed, it is sent to the laboratory for testing.

Most fine needle aspirations are carried out without any complications. You might feel a little sore for a couple of days after the test or you may develop a bruise at the site where the needle was inserted.

Usually, there is very little preparation necessary but we will advise you of any special requirements ahead of your appointment.

Meet our doctors

Everything we do is focused on designing better care for our patients. With a network of 12 specialist oncology treatment centres across the UK, we provide the most up-to-date treatments and technology as standard.

We attract and retain some of the most experienced doctors in the country, who all have a passion for improving patient outcomes and specialise in the treatment of different types of cancer.

Meet our doctors

 

Diagnosis using mammogram

A mammogram is a low dose x-ray of the breast, which is used to help find early changes in the breast and cancers that are too small to feel.

The advantages of digital mammography

Digital mammography is an advanced form of breast screening technology, which uses computer imaging rather than x-ray films. The technology allows consultants to view the images immediately, rather than waiting for films to be produced. They can also spot very small calcifications, enabling them to make a clear and accurate diagnosis, quickly.

What to expect with a mammogram

You will be asked to undress to the waist and place your breast on a flat plate on the mammography unit. If both breasts are being scanned then you will be asked to place them on the unit one at a time. There will be another flat plate above your breast which will move down and your breast will be pressed in between the two plates to keep it still and allow a clear image to be taken. This may feel a little uncomfortable.

A mammogram will usually take 10 to 15 minutes. Most of the time is spent getting into position and preparing the equipment. The actual x-ray only takes a few seconds and the radiographer will operate the mammography unit from behind a screen. However, the radiographer will be able to see and hear you at all times.

To prepare for your mammogram, it is best not to use any spray-on deodorant, talcum powder, antiperspirant or perfume on your breasts, as it could affect the results.

Meet our doctors

Everything we do is focused on designing better care for our patients. With a network of 12 specialist oncology treatment centres across the UK, we provide the most up-to-date treatments and technology as standard.

We attract and retain some of the most experienced doctors in the country, who all have a passion for improving patient outcomes and specialise in the treatment of different types of cancer.

Meet our doctors