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How much of Colon does an Abdominal CT scan pick up?

newenglandguy
Posts: 66
Joined: Jun 2011

How much of the Colon does an Abdominal CT scan pick up? I read something about a virtual Colonoscopy and was wondering if that is derived from an Abdominal CT?

Buckwirth's picture
Buckwirth
Posts: 1272
Joined: Jun 2010

and to the former is pretty much everything, though it is a photograph, and open to interpretation (think WMD).

On a very old thread you asked about staging, and whether it was done via surgery or CT scan. You may not get an answer there (most of those members are no longer posting), so I will try to explain it here:

IF surgery is a recommended course of action, then staging is done via surgery, as it is the most reliable method.

In some cases (mine was one of them) the spread is not to a major organ, and the primary tumor is not causing any undue difficulties, so surgery is optional. In those cases, a combination of a CT scan and a PET scan are used to determine how far the metastasis has spread and staging is done with the scans and a biopsy of the primary tumor.

In my case I was dx'd first with a CT scan (virtual colonoscopy) then with a standard colonoscopy to get a biopsy of the main tumor in my rectum. At the time it was not causing any pain, bleeding or blockage, and removal of the primary in stage IV does not change life expectancy, so we left it in. Then I had a PET/CT, which is done on a special machine that does both scans together, creating a 3D image. It was here that they confirmed my lymph nodes had metastasis, and where my staging was set at IV.

Since my original dx in April of '10, I did have pain issues with the primary tumor, and in January of this year had an APR, which left me with a permanent colostomy (something I had been hoping to avoid).

For the record, anything in bold should link you to the respective Wikipedia article so you can get a better understanding of what each thing does.

Hope this helps,

Blake

newenglandguy
Posts: 66
Joined: Jun 2011

So is the "virtual CT" a normal abdominal CT? If it is, then I had an Abdominal CT about 6 months ago. Mine was with and without contrast.

So did you have a polyp that was removed, and then no surgery as a follow-up? Can the tell how deep the polyp was just from removal via a Colonoscopy.

Had a few PMs - thanks all - I'll be sure to check date ofmthe posts in the future.

Buckwirth's picture
Buckwirth
Posts: 1272
Joined: Jun 2010

I am stage 4, it was a full blown tumor, about 9cm long, with metastasis to distant lymph nodes. All they did during the colonoscopy was take enough tissue off the tumor to run a biopsy.

lisa42's picture
lisa42
Posts: 3663
Joined: Jul 2008

I have had a recurrent rectal tumor (approx 3 cm up from the anal sphincter) for a little over a year now. During that time, not one of my CT scans have picked it up. My PET scans have lit up there a bit, but no nodule was seen on the CT portion of the PET or on the regular CT scans I've recently had done. The way I know it's there is because I had a sigmoidoscopy with ultrasound done this past June. It measured it at approx 2 cm x 3 cm.

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2208
Joined: Oct 2011

it was not so much a matter of how much of the colon could be seen by the CT-rather the issue was that something about the way my tumors grew and/or their shape caused them to be virtually invisible on the CT. My doc unfortunately relied solely on the CT last year, giving the impression that there was no cancer, when in fact I had a ton of growth going on. Had so much pain that I finally landed in the ER, where a PET scan showed many problems that the CT had totally missed just 6 weeks earlier. Kind of weird going from NED to a surgeon telling me that curative surgery might not be possible because there was so much cancer all in a couple of months! Anyway, I now insist on a PET as the primary way to track my cancer-not sure if everyone needs this, but in my case, it was critical. Best to you-Ann

newenglandguy
Posts: 66
Joined: Jun 2011

Ann, Lisa - I was referring more to Polyps. What type of polyps did you have, as I know there are several types. Just wondering if it's that case that certain polyp types wouldn't show up on CT?

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