A place for those managing the ups & downs of a Stage IV/metastatic breast cancer diagnosis. Please respect that this forum is for Stage IV members only. There is a separate forum For Family and Caregivers of People with a STAGE IV Diagnosis.
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 11:55AM
After reading different posts, I am confused whether a CT Scan is effective at detecting metastases to the following parts:
2. Abdominal organs (liver etc)
I think it works well for the lungs, but am confused about the above three. Some people seem to have had a CT while some have had MRI to detect mets to liver, brain etc.
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Posts 1 - 8 (8 total)
Feb 16, 2012 12:00PM alesta29 wrote:
CT scan with contrast picked up my liver, lung and bone mets, although I then had a liver ultrasound to rule out cysts and a MRI to determine whether bone mets were mets or wear and tear.
My understanding is that CT is not great at picking up little things clearly but is OK when determining progression/regression providing you have a previous to compare with
Feb 16, 2012 12:46PM learnin wrote:
My Bone scan read "unlikely mets" (lit up one area rib, one skull - not the multiple spots expected with mets). Due to symptoms I requested further tests. CT showed diffuse bone and liver mets. The one rib spot on the bone scan was actually a healing pathological fracture. The other spots were all lytic, so didn't show on bone scan.
Don't know what other types of scans would have shown. PET scan very difficult and expensive for me to access - and can miss small lesions. MRI would have taken longer to arrange. CT was easily available, and gave the info needed to guide treatment.
Moral of the story? No test is perfect. Medicine includes inherent uncertainty.
Feb 16, 2012 01:27PM cheryl1946 wrote:
I had a PET/cat scan and it showed no brain problem (that's the CT part),and increased activity in shoulder,sternum,? chest wall,? left axillary nodes (the PET part).
Followup bone bx on shoulder end of June confirmed mets and stage IV.
Previously I had 2 mammos,an ultrasound,and 2 mri's. All this from April to end of June 2011.
Feb 16, 2012 02:34PM CoolBreeze wrote:
I had a PET to find the cancer originally and now i have CTs to monitor it. (liver). Tomorrow I'm having an abdominal/chest/pelvic ... so I'm nervous.
Feb 16, 2012 03:43PM chele wrote:
Feb 16, 2012 05:45PM mamanmidwife wrote:
I ha a PET scan to dx then a liver biopsy to be sure, have followed up with CT scan and bone scn every 3 months (the cat scan can't seem to differentiate between healing bome or cancer active bone.) the CT scan is for soft tissue lungs, liver(for me) pancreas spleen etc... usually a chest abdomen and pelvis. for the brain an MRI is the most accurate.
Feb 16, 2012 06:09PM Cynthia1962 wrote:
Just today I began reading a book about advanced breast cancer. In the chapter about imaging and testing this is what it says: Bones - "A bone metastasis is usually diagnosed by a bone scan. ~ A bone scan will pick up approx. 80-90% of bone mets." Lung - mets usually appear on an x-ray and a chest CT scan is usually ordered to investigate further. Sometimes, this is followed by a CT-guided lung biopsy. Liver - "CT scans, MRIS, or ultrasound of the liver can be used to evaluate the liver for evidence of mets." Brain, spinal cord, & meningeal - "CT scans and MRIS with contrast can be used to detect a tumor in the brain, spinal cord, or meninges (brain covering)." General Mets - When the drs want an entire body evaluation at once they usually order a PET scan. "PET scans cannot tell if bright areas are cancer or not, only that cells there are more active. A biopsy is still required to make a final diagnosis."
Of course, we're all individuals and tests don't always tell us what they "should". I just had another bone scan and because it was done on a different and newer machine, I have spots showing up that weren't there before and may or may not be mets. Sometimes, it takes a combination of tests and symptoms to know if something is mets.
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