Decorative image

Tests to stage breast cancer

After breast cancer is diagnosed, you might have one or more other tests. You may have these if cancer cells are found in the lymph nodes or you have symptoms that could be due to cancer spread.

Lymph node ultrasound and biopsy

A lymph node ultrasound checks for any changes in the lymph nodes under the arm and a sample might be taken using a biopsy needle.

MRI scan

An MRI scan can show changes in the body by using magnetism and radio waves to create pictures. It can help to show whether breast cancer has spread.

CT scan

A CT scan can show whether breast cancer has spread to the lungs or liver. It can also show changes caused by other medical conditions.

Liver ultrasound

A liver ultrasound scan can show changes in the liver caused by cancer or other medical conditions. 

Bone scan

A bone scan can show changes in the bone using a mildly radioactive liquid and a special scanner. It can help to show whether breast cancer has spread to the bone.

Last reviewed: 
24 Sep 2020
Next review due: 
24 Sep 2023
Coronavirus and cancer

We know it’s a worrying time for people with cancer, we have information to help.

Read our information about coronavirus and cancer