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Tests to stage

These tests are to find out the size of the cancer and check whether it has spread. This helps your doctor to decide on the treatment you need. The most common place for mouth or oropharyngeal cancers to spread is to the lymph nodes in the neck.

You might have one or more of these tests to stage your cancer.

CT scan

CT scans take pictures of your body to find out where the cancer is and whether it has spread.

MRI scan

Get more information on what an MRI scan is, how you have it and what happens afterwards.

PET-CT scan

Find out what a PET- CT scan is, how you have it and what happens after it.

Barium swallow

Read about what to expect when having a barium swallow test.


Find out about x-rays for mouth and oropharyngeal cancer including what they are and how you have them.

Blood tests

What happens when you have a blood test and what happens after.

Testing your lymph nodes

Get information on having a fine needle aspiration to test your lymph nodes, including what happens during the test and afterwards.

Last reviewed: 
23 Oct 2014

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