Tests before, during and after cancer treatment

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During cancer treatment, a patient will need many tests to determine if the treatment is working. Learn about the types of tests to expect before, during and after treatment, and why these tests are necessary.

Key points

  • No matter the type of cancer you are diagnosed with, you will need to have tests throughout your treatment and for many years after treatment is finished.
  • Some tests will be done before and during treatment to see how well the different parts of your body are working.
  • Tests during treatment are necessary so that your health-care team can see how well the treatment is working.

Tests and cancer treatment

The waiting is over and after many tests and exams you know your diagnosis. Your health-care team has explained to you and your family the type of cancer you have. Now the focus moves to treatment.

The types of treatment you need will depend on the kind of cancer you have. No matter what, you will need to have more tests before and during treatment, and even for many years after your treatment is finished.

Tests before treatment

Your health-care team may set up tests for you either before your treatment starts or very early in your treatment. These tests show your health-care team how all the different parts of your body are working. They can include tests that check your:

These tests are described in the following sections, but remember that you may not need all of them.

Will I need tests during cancer treatment?

During your treatment you will have a number of tests, including some of the tests you had during diagnosis (such as scans and blood tests).

The tests help your health-care team see how well the treatment is working to kill the cancer and how the rest of your body is holding up. Remember that treatment works by killing the cancer cells. Sometimes the treatment can damage healthy cells too. That is why your health-care team needs to monitor your whole body for changes, not just the parts that are directly affected by cancer.

Why do I need all these tests?

By repeating tests, and comparing the results from before, during, and after treatment, your health-care team can see how treatment is changing not only your cancer but the rest of your body too. Your health-care team wants to help you beat cancer and be as healthy as possible afterwards.

Remember: not everyone needs all of the tests mentioned above. The tests and procedures you experience during your treatment will be unique to you!

Last updated: September 3rd 2019