How a CT Scan is Used for Detecting Cancer

Learn what this technology can do to save your life.

Approximately 1.7 million new cancer cases are projected to be diagnosed in the United States alone this year. Astonishingly, these diagnoses could result in 606,880 cancer deaths – or about 1,660 fatalities every single day – in 2019. Because cancer is the second leading cause of death in the country, more and more people are seeking immediate and accurate diagnosis and treatment from medical experts.


So, what options should people turn to when they fear they might have cancer? And which one can bring the most accurate results?

One of the most valuable advancements in the medical industry is the computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan. Invented in 1972, this device has emerged as one of the most sought after innovations in all hospitals. With the rising popularity of mobile CT scanners, it appears that an increasing number of medical professionals want to have this technology as close to them as possible, particularly when responding to medical emergencies or when out in the fields.

What can a CT scanner do?

A CT scan is an X-ray procedure that utilizes a computer to produce a 3D cross-sectional picture of a patient’s internal organs. Compared to conventional X-rays, which only show images in a limited capacity, CT scans offer exceptionally accurate and detailed pictures of a patient’s bones, internal organs, and even tissues.

Can a CT scan show cancer?

The short answer is yes. CT scans are used to pinpoint the area affected by tumors as well as to assess the extent of the cancer’s spread in a patient’s body. CT scans can also help medical professionals determine the effectiveness of a particular cancer treatment method.

But how accurate is a CT scanner for cancer diagnosis and treatment? Here’s a quick look at the ways CT scans can help in managing cancer:

  • Assist doctors in locating tumors to perform biopsies.
  • Guide medical professionals in planning a patient’s radiation therapy.
  • Offer accurate data to help experts assess whether a treatment method is effective during follow-up sessions.
  • Provide valuable information that allows doctors to gauge whether the treatment worked after or even while a patient is undergoing follow-up care.

So, do detect all types of cancer? A CT scan serves as a powerful tool for doctors to determine the status of a patient’s health. To date, the following tumor types have been detected via CT scans:

  • Lung cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Lymphoma
  • Head and neck cancer

Aside from detecting cancer, a CT scan can also aid doctors in the following:

  • Offer detailed images of the brain to assist experts in determining whether a patient is suffering from either an ischemic stroke or hemorrhagic stroke.
  • Help doctors evaluate the severity of a patient’s head trauma, particularly in cases of facial trauma.
  • Provide accurate assessments when it comes to complaints of abdominal pain or pain found in a patient’s pelvis, colon, small bowel, and other internal organs.
  • Assist doctors in determining the causes of a patient’s unexplained pain.

Final Thoughts

Cancer diagnosis and management have evolved throughout the years through extensive research to include a number of new treatments, including surgeries, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. However, an accurate and proper diagnosis can go a long way not only for the prevention but also for the treatment of this deadly disease. This makes CT scans an invaluable tool to everyone in fear of suffering from cancer or battling this illness.

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Author’s Bio:

Scott has been working in the radiology field for over 30 years. He finds the biological phenomenons found in humankind fascinating and appreciates the incredible use that diagnostic imagery has to save lives. Other than acting as the President for Catalina Imaging, Scott enjoys spreading the word on new insights and breakthroughs in the radiology field, specifically the impact that mobile imaging has for patient care.