The tests that may be considered are shown in the table below. Keep in mind, this is not a full list and there may be different tests your doctor may consider.

Medical history Personal and family medical history
Biopsy Fine needle biopsy
Tumor marker tests Blood and urine tests
Imaging methods Ultrasound
Computed tomography (CT)
Digestive endoscopy and endoscopic ultrasound
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
Scintigraphy scans Somatostatin receptor scintigraphy
MIBG scan
Bone scan (bone scintigraphy)
Positron emission tomography (PET) (can be combined with CT or MRI)
Other tests Bronchoscopy
Lung function tests

Medical history and physical examination

Before performing any tests for NETs, your doctor will probably ask questions about your medical history.

This is a record of present symptoms, risk factors, and the medical events and problems that you have had in the past. The medical history of your relatives may also help the doctor to diagnose neuroendocrine cancer.

When taking a medical history, your doctor may ask questions about:

  • Whether anyone else in your family has or has had cancer or similar problems
  • A family history of disorders like Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (MEN) and Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) syndrome, which are rare genetic disorders that cause the development of multiple tumors
  • Your signs and symptoms of NETs

A physical examination will also allow your doctor to look for any signs of NETs and any areas of pain or tenderness, or any lumps or bumps.


If your doctor suspects NETs, they might take a tissue sample from the suspected tumor in your body. This is usually carried out using a method called “fine needle biopsy” in which a thin needle is inserted into the body to remove the tissue, similar to taking a blood sample.

The doctor may use this test to determine what treatment is necessary and repeat the test periodically to monitor the effects of certain treatments for NETs that you may receive. Remember, many factors are needed to determine a likely long-term outcome.

Find out more about NETs

Learn about NETs

Learn about NETs

Learn about carcinoid tumors, the types of NETs, and symptoms.

Learn About NETs

Living with NETs

The emotional, physical, and social challenges of living with NETs.

Living with NETs

Advocacy & Support

Living with NETs is not something that you have to do alone. Find help and support.

Get support
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