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Laryngeal Cancer: Tests After Diagnosis

Laryngeal Cancer: Tests After Diagnosis

What tests might I have after being diagnosed?

After a diagnosis of laryngeal cancer, you will likely have other tests. These tests help your healthcare providers learn more about your cancer. They can help show if the cancer has grown into nearby areas or spread to other parts of your body. The test results help your healthcare providers decide the best ways to treat the cancer. If you have any questions about these or other tests, be sure to talk with your healthcare team.

Technician preparing patient for a CT scan


The tests you may have can include:

  • Chest X-ray

  • CT scan

  • PET scan

  • MRI

  • Ultrasound

  • Bone scan 

Imaging Tests

Chest X-ray

This X-ray may be done to see if the cancer has spread to your lungs.

CT scan

In this test, an X-ray beam takes a series of pictures of the inside of your body from many angles. These images are then combined by a computer, giving a detailed, 3-D picture of your body. CT scans can be used to determine the size of the tumor and find out if it has spread to nearby tissues or lymph nodes.

PET scan

A PET scan can look at your entire body. For this test, a mildly radioactive substance is injected into your vein. Then a machine takes pictures that show where in your body the substance is being used the most. These areas may be cancer. For this test, you’ll lie still on a table that is pushed into the PET scanner. It will rotate around you and take pictures. Other than the injection, a PET scan is painless. Some people are sensitive to the substance, and may have nausea, a headache, or vomiting. Some newer machines can do PET and CT scans at the same time. This allows areas that show up on the PET scan to be compared to the more detailed image of the CT scan.


This test uses radio waves, large magnets, and a computer to make detailed pictures of the inside of your body. It may be used to look for cancer that's spread to your neck.

For this test, you lie still on a table as it passes through a tube-like scanner. If you are not comfortable in small spaces, you may be given a sedative before the test. This will help you to relax. The scanner directs a beam of radio waves at the area that’s being checked. You may need more than 1 set of images. Each may take 2 to 15 minutes. This test is painless. It may last an hour or more.


This test may be used to look for swollen lymph nodes in your neck, which can be a sign of cancer spread. It can also look for cancer that may have spread to your liver. 

Bone scan

For this test, a small amount of a mildly radioactive substance is injected into your veins. This substance travels through your bloodstream and collects in areas of abnormal bone growth. A machine scans your body for the places where the substance has collected. These may be areas where the cancer has spread to the bones.

Working with your healthcare provider

Your healthcare provider will talk with you about which tests you'll have. Make sure to get ready for the tests as instructed. Ask questions and talk about any concerns you have.


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