At or Before Diagnosis

Before Diagnosis

If your child has any symptoms that are worrying you, the first thing to do is visit your GP. If the GP has any concerns they will refer your child to the hospital where a specialist will arrange some tests to be carried out. Listed below are some common tests that are carried out:

  • Biopsy – where a small piece of tissue is removed and examined to diagnose the type of cancer.
  • Blood tests – to confirm if organs are functioning correctly and to check the number of blood cells present in blood.
  • Bone Marrow biopsy – this test checks the inside of the bone marrow, where different types of blood cells are made.
  • Bone scan - this scan is used to detect areas of bone where there is cancer, infection or damage.
  • CT scan – using x-rays, a detailed image is built up of the tissues in the body.
  • Lumbar Puncture – where a small sample of fluid is removed from around the spinal cord.
  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) - a scan that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body.
  • PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scan – this test is used to produce detailed three-dimensional images of the inside of the body.
  • X–rays – to look deeper within the body for any irregular changes.
  • Ultrasound – using sound waves, a picture can be built up of the tissues in the body.

At Diagnosis

When your child has been diagnosed, the consultant/specialist will possibly make a referral for more tests and will decide on the best course of treatment. Your child will have a plan of treatment to follow and may come into contact with many specialists in the hospital.

Please click here for some advice for parents about emotions and coping.

Your child may have to be admitted as an inpatient to hospital or they may be seen as an outpatient. Read Sara’s story about her experiences when her son was diagnosed at the age of 3 with leukaemia. Find out what to expect during treatment here.