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CT Scan or Mammo

MsGebby's picture
Posts: 659
Joined: Oct 2011

I mentioned to the tech yesterday while having my mammo (everything is good) that I couldn't understand why I needed to have since I had a CT scan done in December.  She said "A mammo. ultrasound or MRI are the tests that find tumors.  CT scans are for finding tumors or other suspicious spots in other organs, not the breast".  I wasn't sure I was hearing the right thing.  I honestly believe that the scan can pick up on tumors in the breast.  Is there a good article on this subject?  I tried to google it but didn't any satisfaction with what I was finding.




SIROD's picture
Posts: 2199
Joined: Jun 2010

A mammogram, ultrasoud or MRI (that they now do for breast) are tools to find tumors in the breast is my understanding.  When you do a ct scan it is to find the tumors or other suspicious spots in your lungs, adrenal gland, liver, ribs and parts nearby.

I went to a breast cancer disucussion given by my local hospital during October.  I kept asking myself why because I didn't need to learn about breast cancer.  It turned out to be an interesting evening.   

I did ask the question to the radiologist who was the first speaker.  I told him that I am stage IV with lungs, pleura and rib metastasis, do I still need a mammogram since I have ct scan every 3 months.  (I haven't been for a mammogram since 2009 and don't plan on any again).   He replied, "yes I did need a mammogram".  He said, that when he sees something that might be a tumor in a breast on the lung ct scan he would red flag it for a mammogram.

The next speaker was absent due to a family emergency and then we had the oncologist.  He began giving his talk on the drugs and therapies for breast cancer.  Then talked about a meeting he went to about what was in the future for cancer.  Very interesting evening.  

At the end of his talk, he stopped, looked at me and said "you don't need a mammogram, your ct scan is enough".  My opinion of him went up immensely for he spoke the truth.  They can see something on a ct scan and would red flag it.  At stage IV, I am not going to remove a tumor in the other breast.  An active tumor anywhere (and I have some in my left lung at the moment) means the drug has failed.  It means a new therapy is needed.  

I hope that I answered the question for you Mary.  They are all tools, some are better than others to see what it is.  For bones it is usually and MRI, for soft tissue a ct scan.   PET often shows but now always where cancer might be active.  Bone scans tell you if there is an uptake and it can mean arthritis or some other problem other than cancer.  Mammograms are for breast.  Ultrasound informs if it is hard or soft, cyst are soft and sound go through them, tumors are harder and sound doesn't go through them.   This is my take on them after using all these tests and others not mentioned;  over the 18 1/2 years that I have been on the journey.





MsGebby's picture
Posts: 659
Joined: Oct 2011

Thanks for your response Doris.  I just wasn't aware of the uses for different technologies.  I really thought a scan would be enough.  Live and learn, right?

jnl's picture
Posts: 3873
Joined: May 2009

Your tech was right Mary as far as I know.  I only had a CT scan, that I remember for a bone scan, liver scan, my back and it was also part of my set up for rads. The mammo, ultrasound and MRI are for finding cancerous tumors in your breasts.


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