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Tests to stage

The stage is the size of the cancer and whether it has spread. This information can help your doctor to decide on treatment. You might have one or more of these tests.

Primary liver cancer is cancer that started in your liver. If you have cancer that has spread to the liver from somewhere else (secondary liver cancer), this is not the right section for you.

CT scan

A CT scan uses x-rays to take detailed pictures of your body from different angles. A computer then puts them together to give a 3 dimensional (3D) picture.

MRI scan

MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. It produces pictures from different angles around the body and shows soft tissue clearly. It can show abnormal areas in the liver.


Laparoscopy is a small operation to look inside your tummy (abdomen). Your surgeon looks for signs of cancer spread.

Last reviewed: 
24 May 2018
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