How we can help you
There’s plenty of evidence to show that people who take an active role in their healthcare are better able to manage chronic conditions and recover more quickly from illness. If you or someone close to you is ill, it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed by all the information you receive. Sometimes not all of it sinks in. We can help by providing all you need to know about the pathology tests that will be used confirm the diagnosis and manage treatment. We can be here for you whenever you need that information. We believe that by knowing what lies ahead, you can be better prepared.
We can help if you:
- have been asked to have tests
- have been diagnosed
- have a diagnosis but aren’t sure what lies ahead
- are managing a chronic condition
- are caring for someone having tests
- are a health professional looking for information to pass on to a patient or seeking a quick resource
- are a student looking for broad information on a test
What are you looking for?
On every page throughout the website you will find a green Search box which expands into four aditional search boxes labelled 'KEYWORD', ‘TEST NAME’, ‘CONDITION/DISEASE’ and ‘HEALTH CHECK’, the latter three will take you directly to any page in these three libraries. Use the Keyword box to search the whole site.
Use this search function if you know the names of the tests you are having.
This section is based on our extensive library of test information. Information includes why a test might be performed and how the results might be used. We also explain what kind of sample or specimen is required and give answers to some commonly asked questions.
If you want to know about the illness you have and the many tests that might be used to diagnose and manage it, go to this search box.
Also known as screening tests, these are the tests that are performed when someone has no symptoms but could be at risk of a disease or condition. We have grouped these tests according to age - newborn, infants, children, young adults, adults, adults 50+ and the tests used during pregnancy.
Many preventive screening tests of otherwise healthy people cause controversy within the medical community. There is often little consensus. Many organisations have weighed in on the subject, but in the end, screening is a matter between you and your doctor. We have collected recommendations from a wide range of organisations to help get you started.
Last Review Date: November 1, 2014
If you have come across a word that is unfamiliar – perhaps in your internet searches or something that one of your health team has mentioned– go to our glossary where you’ll find an extensive list of medical and scientific terms.
Understanding your tests
We think it is important that you have all the background knowledge you need to fully-understand the decisions being made about your healthcare. Understanding your tests contains information to help you prepare your tests and sets out to address some of the concerns you might have. It also gives advice on how to make sure the information you find online is accurate and trustworthy.
The numbers that appear on results forms can be cause for confusion. This section explains what they are and how they are calculated.
Inside the lab
This part of the healthcare system is a mystery to most people. We try to pull back the curtains a bit to show you what real-world wizardry occurs inside the laboratory because without it, many diagnoses would be reduced to guesswork, and early detection and prevention of numerous conditions could not occur. We hope that these pages help you feel better about being tested, and give you an appreciation for the work of so many dedicated people working in the laboratory. This section shows how tests are performed and describes some of the methods used. It also details the many different disciplines in pathology to give you an idea of which of the specialist pathologists and scientists are likely to be working on your tests.
Take a lab tour
Find out what happens to your test when it gets to the lab.
Throughout the website we have included links to other reputable web sites where you can learn more. Be aware that we cannot be responsible for the content of these sites. You will find our links to be specific to the context of a particular page. We have tried to connect to the sites we know best and trust most. We have not been able to be comprehensive, and would welcome your suggestions for additional links to good information or useful services.
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