The surgeon may remove a piece of tissue from the suspicious area which will be examined by a microscope to determine whether it contains cancerous cells. If it does, it can show the type and grade (speed of growth) and possibly your overall prognosis (outlook). You may have stitches to close the site of the biopsy and may be prescribed painkillers.
A core biopsy, also known as a fine needle aspiration may be taken. This is a hollow needle, which is inserted to collect sample cells.
PET (positron emission tomography) scanning involves an injection of a radiotracer (dye) about an hour before the scan. The dye helps to examine the chemical activity in specific parts of the body. The scanner rumbles in the background but is not especially noisy.
This type of scan produces x-rays to take pictures from different angles. The pictures are analysed by a computer which creates an accurate picture of the abnormality and the size of any cancer.
This type of scan is very similar to the scans used in pregnancy. It involves a hand-held computer mouse sized scanner being passed over parts of the body.
This scan uses electromagnetic rays to build an image of the body. This type of scan can be very noisy and claustrophobic. You may be given earplugs or, in certain hospitals, encouraged to bring in a music CD or similar to be played whilst you are in the scanner.