Tests after a diagnosis of NETs

Doctor standing in front of a radiotherapy machine

After your diagnosis, your doctor may want you to have more tests to find out more about your cancer:

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

This is called staging. Staging tests for NETs include:

  • CT scan: A special type of X-ray to give a 3D picture of the tissues inside your body. It can show the position and size of tumours, and regular scans are useful to find out more about the rate of tumour growth and how the tumour is responding to treatment.
  • PET scan: Using a radioactive injection that will show up any cancer spread to other parts of your body on a scan picture.
  • MRI scan: This is 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. An MRI scan can be used to locate a tumour. Further tests may be needed to confirm the type of tumour
  • Endoscopy: In this test, a flexible camera, called an endoscope, is used to examine the digestive tract. The tube can be inserted down the back of the throat (gastroscopy) or via the rectum (colonoscopy). A sample of tissue (biopsy) can be collected during the test.
  • Biopsy: Taking a sample of the tumour. The sample is examined in a laboratory by a specialist called a histopathologist to give information about what type of NET cancer it is, and how fast it might grow.
Proliferative index

This measures the number of cells in the tumour that are dividing (proliferating).

  • A proliferation index of less than 2% means that the tumour is very slow growing,
  • A proliferation index above 10% suggests faster growth.

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

For more information

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