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Imaging tests for throat cancer

What are imaging tests?

If a diagnosis of throat 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.

Imaging tests for throat cancer

Computed tomography (CT) scan: A CT scan can 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 throat cancer. MRIs provide a very detailed view, and can 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 throat cancer, a PET scan may be useful for seeing if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, for determining the originating site of cancer when it is found in the lymph nodes first or for checking the entire body for any spreading of cancer cells.

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