You might have different tests to find out the cause of your symptoms. The tests you have depends on your symptoms. Sometimes, a cancer of unknown primary (CUP) is picked up on tests for something else.
If tests show you have cancer spread (secondary cancer), you usually have a number of further tests to try to find where the cancer started (the primary cancer).
We haven't listed all the tests you might have below. We have more information about tests to diagnose cancer and how you have them in our general cancer tests section.
You may not need all the tests below.
You have tests to try to find out where your cancer started (primary cancer). The tests you have depend on your symptoms.
A biopsy means taking a sample of tissue so that it can be looked at under a microscope. There are different types of biopsy.
Blood tests can check your general health, for example, your blood cell levels and how well your liver and kidneys are working. Some blood tests can also help to diagnose cancer.
A CT scan is a test that uses x-rays and a computer to create detailed pictures of the inside of your body. You might have one to look for the area where the cancer started and other areas where it might have spread to.
An ultrasound scan can look for any abnormal areas in your tummy (abdomen) or pelvis. Find out how you have one.
You have a PET-CT scan to look for where a cancer started and areas of cancer spread. Find out what a PET- CT scan is, how you have it and what happens after it.
An MRI scan creates pictures using magnetism and radio waves. It can help to find out where the cancer started (primary cancer).
You might a chest x-ray if you are having problems with your breathing. Find out about x-rays, including what they are and why you might have them.