Your doctor may require certain tests to check for bone cancer and determine how far the cancer has spread. These tests include:
If you have bone pain and other bone symptoms, X-ray can often be one of the first tests you will go for. An x-ray can help reveal signs that there is cancer of the bones.
A bone scan can show the entire skeleton. It can usually detect bone cancer earlier than regular x-rays. It is also used to monitor how much the cancer has spread.
Computerised tomography (CT scan)
A CT scan may be necessary in checking for cancer, which sometimes won't be detected by a bone scan. CT scan is also ideal for checking the size and shape of a tumour in the bone.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Like the CT scan, MRI produces detailed cross-sectional images of the body. It is the standard test that doctors require if spinal cord compression is suspected. It is also useful in evaluating the extent of soft tissue involvement.
Positron emission tomography (PET)
PET scan can provide detailed information on the function of an organ or system in your body such as the chemical and physiological changes related to metabolism. This is important because these functional changes often occur before structural changes in tissues can be seen and PET images are able to show abnormalities long before they would be revealed by X-ray, CT or MRI.
A biopsy is needed to determine whether the lesion is cancerous or not. It also reveals whether the lesion is a primary bone cancer or a bone metastasis.