Tests after an oesophageal cancer diagnosis

Doctor looking at scan pictures on a computer screen

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

  • 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 oesophageal cancer include:

  • CT scan: A type of X-ray that gives a detailed picture of the tissues inside your body.
  • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS): A flexible tube with an ultrasound probe on the end is passed into oesophagus through your mouth. This lets your doctor to see the tissues inside your oesophagus and nearby areas. He or she can check the size and depth of the tumour and if nearby lymph glands are enlarged due to cancer or infection. A sample of the lymph glands can also be taken and checked for signs of cancer. 
  • PET CT scan: A radioactive injection that will show up any cancer spread to other parts of your body on a CT scan picture. 
  • MRI scan: A scan that uses magnetic energy to build up a picture of the tissues inside your body. You might have this scan to let your doctor look at areas outside the oesophagus such as the liver. During the scan you will lie inside a tunnel-like machine.
  • Laparoscopy: You may have this test if your doctor needs more information after other tests have been done. A laparoscopy is a small operation that is performed under general anaesthetic. A mini telescope is passed through a small cut in your abdomen (tummy) so that your doctor can see the organs close to your oesophagus and check the lining of your abdomen for cancer. 

Read more about these staging tests 

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

For more information

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