Additional tests

Your doctor may order additional tests to see if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body (such as the liver, lung, brain, or bones). These tests include:

  • blood work (also called lab tests): this is nearly always done
  • chest X-ray
  • bone scan
  • CT (or CAT, which stands for computer aided tomography) scan
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan
  • PET (positron emission tomography) scan

Whether your doctor orders these tests depends on a number of factors, including:

  • The extent of the cancer in the breast and lymph nodes: The larger the cancer and the more lymph nodes involved, the higher the risk that the cancer has spread, leading to more tests.
  • Your signs (medical findings) and symptoms: If you have worsening headaches or back pain, scans of those areas might be done. These symptoms are common in anyone, but if you have just been diagnosed with cancer, they can cause you anxiety. Often these tests show there is nothing to worry about.
  • Physician preference: Some doctors order every test possible. Some doctors follow the guidelines of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, which don’t recommend these tests routinely if there are no symptoms.
  • Patient preference: You may be the kind of person who strongly believes in testing and wants to get every reasonable test possible just in case it may give results that could affect your treatment. If so, you need to let your doctor know that this is what you want.
  • Participation in clinical trials: If you are on a clinical trial, it’s common for multiple tests to be done before you start the study and then at regular intervals throughout the study.


New laboratory tests


Treatment & Stages of male breast cancer

Coping and support for male breast cancer

Related Topics

Benign breast conditions

General breast cancer terms

Types of breast cancer in men








Oncologists, Breast Surgeons are the specialists who deal with the breast cancer