Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Imaging tests for oral cancer

Imaging tests for oral cancer

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan: A CT scan may provide information about the size, shape and position of any tumors, and may also help identify enlarged lymph nodes that may contain cancer cells.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Less commonly, an MRI scan may be used to examine oral cancer. MRIs provide a very detailed view, and may be particularly useful in determining whether or not the cancer has spread, either to other areas in the neck or other regions of the body.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET): For patients diagnosed with oral cancer, a PET scan may be used to see if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, to determine the cancer's origin when it is found in the lymph nodes first, or to check the body for the spread of cancer cells.

What are imaging tests?

If a diagnosis of oral cancer is made, various kinds of imaging tests can then help determine the extent of the disease. If questions remain after a biopsy, then an imaging test may also be used to help determine whether cancer is present.