Tests and Procedures

The most common diagnostic tests are described below. When choosing a diagnostic test(s), your doctor will consider the person’s age and medical condition, the type of cancer suspected, the severity of the symptoms, and previous test results. Learn more about diagnostic tests for a specific type of cancer. And, not everyone will need all available tests. Learn more about specific tests and procedures that are commonly used in cancer care but should be questioned in specific situations.

Barium Enema

Learn about this procedure that is used to find health conditions in the colon and rectum.

Biopsy

Learn about the different types of biopsies used to diagnose cancer. 

Breast MRI

Learn about what a breast MRI is used for and how it is done.

Colonoscopy

Learn about how this test is used and what to expect before, during, and after the procedure.

Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)

Read about what a digital rectal exam is and how it is used to check the lower rectum, pelvis, and lower belly for cancer and other health problems.

Types of Endoscopy

An endoscopy allows a doctor to view the inside of a person's body. Learn about the different types of endoscopy and how they are used. 

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

This article explains what an MRI is, why you may need one, and what to expect during the test. It also offers a list of questions to ask your health care team about having and MRI.

Pap Test

Learn about how a Pap test is used to look for changes in cells that can lead to cervical cancer.

Sigmoidoscopy

Learn about how this test is used to look for colorectal cancer and how to prepare for it.

Tumor Marker Tests

Learn what tumor markers are and how they are used to diagnose cancer and plan treatment.

Ultrasound

Read about what an ultrasound is and what to expect if you need one. 

Upper Endoscopy

Find out what an upper endoscopy is and how to prepare for one.