How do doctors test for metastatic disease?
There are several tests used to detect metastatic disease:
- Bone scans
- Chest x-ray
- CAT scan
- MRI scan
- PET scan
- Blood Tests/Tumor marker tests – Measure markers found in the blood that can be followed over time. Two such markers for breast cancer are CEA and CA 15-3. These markers tend to be elevated in women with metastatic breast cancer. However, because the tests are not very sensitive, they are not usually very useful for patients with early-stage breast cancers.