What Tests Show If My Breast Cancer Has Spread?

Question: What tests are done to show if breast cancer has spread? Should I demand these tests?

Answer: Tests for determining whether or not breast cancers have spread usually consist of tests such as CAT scans, PET scans, MRIs. The use of testing depends on the stage at which someone is diagnosed.

Most of the large research studies that we participate in, for women who have very early-stage breast cancer, the chances of having metastatic disease or widespread breast cancer is so small we do not routinely do scans such as PET scans, CAT scans or MRIs, unless someone has a symptom. Depending on the stage of the cancer, a diagnosis will dictate whether or not additional testing is needed.

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