If a GP feels a patient has symptoms which may indicate a haematological disorder, they will refer the patient to a consultant haematologist.
It is likely that the consultant will conduct an examination and order diagnostic tests. These tests are necessary to gain a clear understanding of the patient’s symptoms.
In addition to taking a careful history and undertaking a physical examination, blood tests are part of the standard procedure when investigating a suspected haematological disorder. If your GP has reason to believe that you may have a haematological disorder, they may refer you to a hospital for further tests.
Investigations and diagnosis
In addition to blood tests, a number of investigative tests may be required to help diagnose a haematological disorder and to decide upon the most appropriate treatment. These investigations allow doctors to make a diagnosis to see the extent of any disease.
As part of diagnosis and management of haematological disorders, a number of investigations may be necessary.
Diagnostic investigations may include:
- Bone marrow test – a test is to see whether there are cancer cells in your bone marrow
- CT scan – uses X-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the inside of the body
- MRI scan – a type of scan that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body
- PET scan – a scan used to produce detailed three-dimensional images of the inside of the body
- X-Ray – a test that produces images of the structures inside your body
Some patient’s results may be discussed at the haematological multi-disciplinary meeting. If this is required, the team will review all aspects of your care and recommend an appropriate treatment plan. A member of the team will discuss this with you.
Staging and grading
Your haematologist specialist needs certain information about the cancer to decide on the most appropriate treatment for you. This includes the stage and grade of the cancer. The stage of a cancer describes its size, position and whether it has spread beyond the area of the body where it started.
For more information on staging and grading of each haematological disorder, please visit the Macmillan Cancer Support website.