Staging studies help determine whether the tumor is benign or malignant as well as classify the tumor. The tests will determine the extent of the tumor, if it is continuing to grow, or if it has spread to other areas of the body. Results provide your care team the information they need to provide the most effective treatment.
Staging studies may include:
A bone scan is an imaging study done to detect bone tumors and determine other abnormalities. Sometimes the doctor will order a bone scan with "contrast," a dye injected into a vein two hours before the scan is done. It is important that you be well hydrated for this study. Your doctor will give you detailed instructions on how to prepare and when to arrive at the radiology department.
A PET (positron emission tomography) scan is an imaging study that also detects tumors in the bone and surrounding soft tissues. This is a very sensitive test that will pick up any abnormalities. To ensure accurate results, there are specific preparations for the scan, which your doctor or nurse will share with you.
A CT (computed tomography) scan is an imaging study that uses a combination of x-ray and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images of the body, including bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are primarily used to check for a tumor in the bone as well as tumor in the chest and lungs.
An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan is a study that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequency, and a computer to produce detailed images of structures in the body. It is used to determine the extent of the tumor within the bone and soft tissues. Your health care team will provide specific instructions about eating and drinking before the MRI.