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CT Scan

KristynRuth86's picture
KristynRuth86
Posts: 144
Joined: Aug 2010

Hello all! This Monday I have a CT scan, I'm just wondering, what are they looking for? Does it show up if there are cancer cells left? It seems a little pointless since the initial PET scan didn't even show any type of cancer activity, yet the did rad/chemo anyway? Just wondering!

ratface's picture
ratface
Posts: 1252
Joined: Aug 2009

They will be looking for anything that is out of place from normal. There are also normal variants/ possibilities among humans. Have you ever overlayed a piece of paper, over say a test scoring sheet, to score one of those ABCD multiple choice tests. It's kind of the same thing as they really need the first one to become the template and then after that they use it as a template or baseline to make comparitive analogy. They will then be able to tell from this point forward what is normal for you. This is the way they find small changes from test to test.

It may also be that something is really obvious, like a small tumor. This would show up as a nodule, spot, or specific size shape, say a 2cm by 2 cmm rectangle. They will then decide to watch or investigate further. They can tell from size, shape, consistency and how translucent the cells appear how likely it may be cancer. The CT can get pretty low around 3-4 mm but not anywhere near the size of a cancer cell. Unless it's obvious they won't show anything definitive and they will classify it as "No Evidence Of Cancer". When they are really not sure they will say something like, "Not likely to be metastic disease" You can really gain a lot of knowledge by reading and looking carefully at the words chosen to describe the result. Also different radiologist use different lingo.

please make sure to ask for a copy of the written report as well as a copy of the CD. They do not generally charge for these. Start keeping your own record for comparison or future consultations with different doctors. It's not an exact science.

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5865
Joined: Apr 2009

Good question: the CT scan can show areas that may have cancer but it is nothing like a PET scan. Also CT are generally giving to a local area of the body unlike a PET that shows the whole body. If you’re PET scan showed NED there should be no need to do a CT. You might want to question your doctor about this, to me is seems like they are over doing it.

All the best to you
Hondo

KristynRuth86's picture
KristynRuth86
Posts: 144
Joined: Aug 2010

Thanks to both of you guys for that info! This will be my first scan since I finished treatment. The PET and CT I had before I ever started treatments both looked normal, but they thought that doing chemo/rad would bennefit me. I just don't see how doing this CT will differ at all from the ones before treatment. I'm not opposed to doing it, I just wondered if there was a reason. Thanks guys for sharing!

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8096
Joined: Sep 2009

For me and many on here, it's a regular thing....I had a CT every three months the first year, now almost two years post, I'm down to a CT every six months or so, and the PET annual.

It doesn't really show cancer cells. It's more of a comparison to other scans that you have had. Mainly to look for any signs of change in the tissues, tumors, etc....

Best,
John

Kent Cass's picture
Kent Cass
Posts: 1747
Joined: Nov 2009

Go to my ENT on Thursday for his version of the PS/CT results, and may suggest to him that I get just a CT in six months for exactly the reasons you state. I'd had no tests between 4/10-4/11, other than the dental Xray at the U of Iowa, and if a CT could pick up a potential problem- would be well worth it.

Thanks

kcass

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8096
Joined: Sep 2009

Kent, I guess we always tend to think of the possible bad things that could be happening. I mentioned above about changes from the previous scans, implying they were only looking for negative things going on.

But in reality, they are also looking for positive things as well. I know on my reports that accompany the scans, they mention that swelling or scarring (residual) in certain areas are improved from previous scans, reduced or no lypmhedema present..etc.

Best,
John

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1580
Joined: May 2009

I had a CT scan every 3 months post treatment for the first year and had just graduated to only needing scans every 6 months. Unfortunately the last scan of my lung showed a new lesion so I have been put back on a 3 months schedule to see if this new tumor changes in any way.

Some may feel that these scheduled scans are unnecessary but I am thankful my doctors are watching me so closely, if anything changes they will know about it before it has a chance to develop into something major.

Both of my cancers were inoperable (lung and laryngeal) and I received chemo and radiation. Since neither tumor was removed I feel much safer having my doctors scan these areas for anything new, or possibly the "old" cancer rearing it's ugly head again.

My best to you,
Glenna

KristynRuth86's picture
KristynRuth86
Posts: 144
Joined: Aug 2010

I can't say it enough, you guys are SOOOOOOOOO helpful. I'd honestly be lost without y'all! I'm so sorry Glenna to hear there was a change, but I'll pray that everything goes smoothly for you. Take care hun!
-Kristyn

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1580
Joined: May 2009

I'm not going to let this news get me down, most days I'm able to enjoy life without even thinking about it. On the days when the doubts and fears start to take over I remind myself that it may be nothing and just because they found a new lesion doesn't mean it's cancer. Have to keep reminding myself it isn't cancer until they biopsy it and the results come back positive.

Thank you so much for your concern, I'm sure that I will be posting good results next month after my scan.

Stay strong,
Glenna

luv4lacrosse's picture
luv4lacrosse
Posts: 1402
Joined: Jul 2010

I agree with the others when they say just looking to compare. I have a chest CT coming up in June to see if what appears to be scar tissue from the radiation is just that.

All will be fine.

Best!!

Mike

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