Medical examinations for CDC and oncology in South Korea

When contacting hospitals in Korea for any disease (oncology and chronic diseases) first of all, the patient goes to consult with the doctor (through Medical Avenue’s services), who prescribes detailed examinations. In oncology, it is necessary to undergo mandatory laboratory and instrumental tests to determine a suitable treatment plan for the patient.

How are the medical tests conducted in South Korea?

How are the medical tests conducted in South Korea?
How are the medical tests conducted in South Korea?
  1. Consultation on the day of arrival or next day.
    At the consultation, the professor gives you the appointments for examinations.
  2. Booking all the medical tests appointed by the professor as soon as possible.
  3. It can take from 1 to 7 days, depending on the appointed tests and the availability of the department.
  4. Consultation on the results of medical tests. On which the professor can prescribe treatment and/or additional examinations.

Below are the most common tests in Korea: The professor prescribes examinations based on the patient’s condition and the characteristics of the disease.

Instrumental medical examinations



CT / computed tomography

MRI / magnetic resonance imaging

PET-CT / Positron Emission Tomography

Osteo Scintigraphy / Bone scan

– Scans are carried out 3 to 6 hours after the application of radiopharmaceutical; the scan itself lasts 20-30 minutes.
– There is a low dose of radiation, but it is recommended to avoid contact with young children or pregnant women for 1-2 days after the drug injection.

Effective in the study of skeletal bones for tumors and metastasis. Often prescribed for breast, prostate, etc. oncology. diseases with bone damage.
It is recommended to go to the toilet and empty yourself. Fasting is not required unless other medical tests are scheduled that day.
After the examination it is recommended to drink 1-2 liters of water, as the contrast is excreted from the body through urine.

Endoscopic examinations

Laboratory screening methods


– Helps research cell structure, cell composition.
– For the study doctors use saliva, sputum, fluid from the abdominal or pleural cavity, smears and flushes from the genitals, respiratory tracts, etc.
The material is collected by puncture, smears or endoscopic procedures.


IHC / immunohistochemical study

Fluorescence in situ hybridization protocol (FISH)

Oncotype DX


Frequently asked questions about medical examinations in South Korea

Is it safe to have medical tests that include radiation?

The level of radiation received during X-ray, CT, PET-Ct is minimal, from 0.2 to 30 mSv (millisievert), depending on the examination. According to the International Commission on Radiological Protection, the risk of oncology throughout life increases by 5% with the exposure of 1,000 mSv at a time.

How long does it usually take for medical results to come out?

A general blood test and some biochemistry parameters are usually ready 2 hours after delivery. Therefore, before going to your appointment, it is necessary to take a blood test 2 hours in advance (for example: in between chemotherapy sessions). More complex lab tests can take from several days to months (for example: MAST allergy test takes about 2 to 3 weeks).
Cytology and histology take about 5 to 7 days. IHC may take a little more than that. Genetic tests take from 1 to 2 months, depending on the type and method of research. Usually, the appointment goes in parallel with the treatment, the result of genetics help the professor in choosing further course of treatment.
Medical images take up to 7 days. But given the position of foreign patients, many hospitals speed up the process of interpreting images up to 3 to 5 days, depending on the examination.

I have no health problems, but I would like to undergo PET-CT, genetic and/or other tests. Is it possible?

Yes, preventive medicine is well developed in Korea. Koreans themselves undergo diagnostic examinations every year. Each of the big hospitals has separate diagnostic centers where you can take complex examinations in one day (one-stop).

I am allergic to contrast (CT, PET-CT), what should I do?

Allergy to contrast in the form of itching, rash, nasal congestion occurs in rare cases. After the examination, the nurse checks for symptoms, if there are symptoms, then doctors will administer antihistamines and you’ll go into observation. After the symptoms subside, you’ll be allowed to go home. Patients with kidney and liver problems should take a saline preparation before examinations. Plus doctors will assess their condition in advance.

Is it possible to bring my own examinations and not have them in Korea before medical treatment?

Lab tests must take place in Korea before medical treatment. Korean doctors accept instrumental analyzes like CT, MRI, if they consider the images’ quality is good and if the images were taking within 6 months. PET-CT, bone scan are better to have them in Korea. Most of the times hospitals ask to meet their own quality requirements. Patient dealing with oncology must bring with them histological slides (1 stained and 10 unstained) or paraffin blocks and the results of histology, IHC, etc. Please note that the number of the slides/blocks must match the numbers in the conclusion.

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