Five Cancers That Show up on CT Scans

CT scans are faster and easier for patients and more commonly used than MRI, which can be time-consuming and costly. MRI’s enclosed environment causes some patients to experience claustrophobia.

CT scans make it easier for doctors to see possible tumors that otherwise might not be detected, making them a useful tool in diagnosing cancer.

During a CT scan, you will lie flat on a table that slides on a track through a tube-shaped scanner. A CT scan requires you to hold your breath for a few seconds when the images are captured. Most CT scans take 10 to 30 minutes, depending on how many pictures your doctor wants and how many areas of the body he or she wants to look at.

Ct Scan On Chest Showing Lung Cancer Photograph by Simon Fraser/science ...

What cancer looks like on a ct scan

Lung Cancer, CT Scan

Symptoms of common cancers that could lead your doctor to order a CT scan include:

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What Types of Cancers Can a CT Scan Detect?

CT can also isolate diseases of the gallbladder, liver and pancreas, such as:

Cancer detection has come a long way in the past few decades. Advances in technology have made it easier to screen for many types of cancers. This often leads to early detection of cancer, when it is often easier to treat. One such advance is the computed tomography scanner, more commonly called a CT scanner. The first use of this advanced form of X-ray imaging occurred in 1971 and the first whole-body scanner debuted in 1973.

Although a CT scan exposes your body to ionizing radiation, the brief imaging sessions you need for diagnosis and treatment follow up are unlikely to seriously affect your risk of developing another cancer. CT imaging software is designed to deliver the lowest dose necessary to complete the scan, however, if you should not be exposed to any amount of radiation for certain reasons, such as pregnancy, an MRI may also be used for diagnostic cancer imaging.

Five Cancers That Show up on CT Scans

CT scan axial section showing a cancer in the right lung of a 77 year ...

A mammogram is the best imaging exam to screen for signs of breast cancer, and a colonoscopy is the gold-standard method of looking for colon cancer. But many cancers are not easy to see on X-rays, and blood tests may show that something is off in your body but not necessarily what or where. If your doctor suspects cancer could be a potential cause of your symptoms, he or she may order a CT scan. This imaging not only can show a tumor’s shape, size and location, but it can even show the blood vessels that feed the tumor.

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Why Get a CT Scan to Detect Cancer?

While CT provides much more detail of damage and disease of internal organs, bones and blood vessels than some other imaging technologies, it can’t show everything.

If you’re concerned about your risk of cancer, find out more about our CT scanning services or make an appointment now.

Your scan may or may not require contrast — a brief IV injection that helps to create a clearer picture. Some people have an allergic reaction to contrast, so make sure to tell your doctor about your known allergies.

CT Scan for Cancer: What Types Are Detected With This Imaging

What Does Cancer Look Like On A Ct Scan With Contrast

Not necessarily. But if your doctor believes you may have a tumor, blood clot, serious infection or other issue, finding quick, accurate answers may be crucial to halting disease progression or preventing a potentially serious outcome. While no one wants to find cancer, letting it go undiagnosed gives it time to grow and spread, making it harder to treat successfully. The earliest possible discovery enables the best possible treatment.

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What Does a CT Scan Show?

Additionally, CT scans are frequently used to detect many abdominal cancers, such as:

In addition to or instead of a CT scan, your doctor may order other imaging, such as an ultrasound or MRI, which are commonly used to detect brain tumors. Supplemental imaging including breast MRI and ultrasound may also be added to screening and diagnostic exams for women considered to be at higher risk for developing breast cancer.

Cervical Cancer Ct Scan

Lung cancer, CT scan

CT can discover many types of cancer in myriad organs and areas of the body, including:

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Does a CT Scan Mean Something Serious?

Another reason your provider might order a CT scan is to see how you are progressing after a cancer diagnosis. A CT scan can be a useful way to tell if your cancer treatment is working. Many people also have regular scans to check whether cancer has returned in the years following the end of treatment. A CT scan may also be used to see if cancer has spread elsewhere in your body.

Some types of colorectal cancer may also show up on CT scans. Blood cancers such as lymphoma or leukemia may also appear on a CT scan if they have spread to the lymph nodes, liver or spleen.

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