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Role of CT scan in Cancer Management

Many times, you must have observed/ seen/ heard from your doctor, they generally ask for computed tomography (CT) scan of some part of the body before/ during / after the cancer treatment.

What is CT scan?

CT scan is nothing but a series of X-ray images taken from different angles around your body and then it uses computer processing to create cross-sectional images (slices) of the bones, blood vessels and soft tissues inside your body.

Importance of CT scan imaging in staging, diagnosis, management and response to treatment in cancer care
  • It can show a tumor’s shape, size, and location. It shows the exact extension of the disease/tumor across the near organs, and tells us about bone involvement, encasement of blood vessels or any other major organs.

  • Characterizes the lymph node associated with that primary. They can even show the blood vessels that feed the tumor – all without having to cut into the patient.

  • In case of tumor which has spread to other organs, a CT scan is an important tool to show whether disease has gone to the lungs, bones, liver or any other major organs in the body.

  • Sometimes, it becomes very difficult to get a tissue diagnosis from a deep-seated tumor, where the doctor actually needs to go inside for a biopsy through a needle. In those special cases, a CT scan helps and guides the doctor to reach the tumor with the help of a needle and take a proper biopsy.

  • These all findings help the treating oncologist to stage the disease clinically which ultimately decides the management and prognosis (the course of medical condition) of the disease.

  • Helps the doctor to decide if he/she can resect the tumor with good margins or not.

  • It is also used as a response assessment tool where doctor compares with previous CT scans and CT scans after a certain treatment like chemotherapy or radiation or chemo-radiation. On the basis of that response, the oncologist can decide the further management.


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