Further tests for myeloma
If your tests show you have myeloma, you will need to have further tests to see how much the myeloma is affecting your body. This information helps your specialist to know the stage of your disease and decide on the best treatment.
You can find the following information
Further tests for myeloma
If your earlier tests show you have myeloma, you will need to have further tests to see how the myeloma is affecting your bone marrow and bones and other parts of your body. This information helps your specialist to know how much the myeloma has developed (the stage) and decide on the best treatment. These further tests may include a CT scan, an MRI scan and possibly a PET-CT scan.
After the tests
Your doctor will ask you to go back to the hospital when your test results have come through. But this may take a little time, probably about a week or two. This is a very anxious time for most people.
While you are waiting for the results, it may help to talk to your cancer specialist nurse, or a close friend or relative about how you feel. Or you can phone Cancer Research UK's cancer information nurses on 0808 800 4040.
You may want to contact a cancer support group to talk to someone who has been through a similar experience. You can also find online support forums, such as CancerChat.
You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the diagnosing myeloma section.
An MRI scan uses radio waves and magnetism to give a detailed picture of the inside of your body. An MRI scan may give your specialist more information about the extent of your myeloma than X-rays. And it is particularly useful for investigating myeloma that is affecting the bones of the spine, and possibly causing pressure on the spinal cord.
Read about having an MRI scan.
A CT scan is a series of X-rays. A computer linked to the X-ray machine creates a detailed picture of the inside of your body. Your specialist may want you to have a CT scan to closely examine any areas of bone damage that have shown up on X-ray, particularly small areas of damage. Or you may need a scan of any painful areas of bone that appear normal on X-ray. CT scans are also useful for diagnosing disease in soft tissue (outside the bones).
Read about having a CT scan.
A PET-CT scan combines a PET scan and a CT scan to give a more detailed picture. For this type of scan, you have an injection into your vein of a mildly radioactive substance. Cells that are active take up the radioactivity and show up on the scan. Cancer cells are usually more active than normal cells.
You may have a PET-CT scan if the results of other tests are unclear. It can be particularly useful in people with plasmacytoma.
Read about having a PET-CT scan.
Your specialist will ask you to go back to the hospital when all your test results have come through. This may take a little time, probably about a week or two. This is a very anxious time for most people. It may help to bring a relative or friend with you to the appointment.
While you are waiting for results, you may find it helpful to talk about how you are feeling with your cancer specialist nurse or phone Cancer Research UK's information nurses. Or you may want to contact a cancer support group to talk to someone who has been through similar experiences. Look at our myeloma organisations page for organisations to help put you in touch with a support group.
If you want to find people to share experiences with online, you could use Cancer Chat, our online forum.
We have information about counselling and organisations to help you find sources of emotional support and counselling in your area.
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