Tests and procedures to diagnose cancer

Tests and procedures to diagnose cancer

Your child will need to have some tests if your doctor thinks they may have cancer.

This page is part of a whole section about childhood cancer.

Key points to remember

  • your child's main cancer doctor is called their oncologist
  • they will arrange tests to find out if there are cancer cells in your child's body 
  • not all children have all the tests or procedures
  • your child may have some of the tests again during treatment

Why does my child need tests?

Your child's oncologist will arrange tests to find out if there are cancer cells in your child's body and to make an accurate diagnosis. If your child does have cancer, these tests will help find out what type of cancer cells there are, where there are and whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body (staging).

Not all children have all the tests or procedures. Your child's main cancer doctor is called their oncologist. They will discuss with you what tests are necessary for your child. Although doing the tests may delay the start of treatment for a few days, it is important to get all the information together so your child gets the right treatment.

Your child may have some of the tests again during treatment. This is to check on progress, any side effects and your child's response to treatment. 

Helping your child with painful procedures

Some tests and procedures may also be painful. There are pain management techniques and medicines that can help your child during a painful procedure. Please ask anyone in your child's treatment team about pain management.

The tests

These are some of the tests for diagnosing cancer. Your child may have a combination of tests depending on their symptoms and the type of cancer doctors think they might have.

All the pages in the childhood cancer section of this website have been written by health professionals who work in the field of paediatric oncology. They have been reviewed by the members of the National Child Cancer Network (NZ). Medical information is authorised by the clinical leader of the National Child Cancer Network.

This page last reviewed 24 October 2017.
Email us your feedback


On this page