Tests after a bowel cancer diagnosis

woman lying flat about to enter an MRI scanning machine, while a male doctor watches her

You may have more tests after your diagnosis to find out:

  • How large is the cancer?
  • Where exactly is the cancer?
  • Has it spread to any other parts of your body?

This is called staging. Staging tests for bowel cancer include:

MRI scan: A scan that uses magnetic energy to build up a picture of the tissues inside your body. During the scan you will lie inside a tunnel-like machine.

CT scan of thorax, abdomen and pelvis: This is a special type of X-ray that gives a detailed 3D picture of your chest area (thorax), abdomen and pelvis. 

CT colonography – virtual colonoscopy: In some hospitals you may be offered a CT colonoscopy. This is is scan that builds up a detailed picture of the tissues inside your bowel. This may be used if you are not able to have a colonoscopy and will be part of the planning stage before your bowel cancer surgery.

Ultrasound scan: A device like a microphone passed over your tummy to give a picture of your digestive system. It can show any abnormal changes.

PET scan: A radioactive injection that will show up any cancer spread to other parts of your body on a CT scan picture. 

Staging is important as it helps your medical team decide on the best treatment for your cancer.

For more information

Icon: Phone


1800 200 700

Icon: Email