If doctors suspect mesothelioma in their patients, they may recommend various diagnostic tools, including medical imaging procedures. The Computed Tomography Scan is an important tool in this process because it can provide highly detailed information about the disease type, location and metastasis.
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer, affecting the mesothelium, the lining surrounding many vital organs. Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, a toxic material widely used in construction from the 1930s through the 1970s. Although asbestos is currently more regulated in the United States, it is still present in locations built previous to such legislation. Individuals exposed to asbestos may not develop symptoms for decades due to the disease’s long latency period.
The CT scan is only one of several diagnostic test physicians may order. Other diagnostic imaging procedures include PET scans, MRI scans, and X-rays. These procedures provide important details for determining the initial diagnosis, as well as assisting physicians in developing a proper treatment plan. Medical professionals evaluate the prognosis for their patient’s disease based on these findings. A prognosis is the forecast regarding how the disease is predicted to progress over time.
CT Scan Procedure
Even after making an initial diagnosis of mesothelioma, doctors may use CT scans to continually monitor treatment effectiveness and the overall status of their patient’s disease.
The CT scan procedure itself is similar to an X-ray. When a CT scan is performed, patients may also undergo a PET scan. PET is an acronym for positron emission tomography, a test which creates a three dimensional image of certain internal organs. These two tests, performed simultaneously, provide the detailed information medical teams require while pinpointing the location of mesothelioma disease and tracking the cancer if it spreads to other organs.
During the CT scan procedure, patients may receive an injection of a special dye used to enhance the image to provide finer detail. The radiologist, a physician trained to interpret these procedures, interpret the CT scan results and report them to the patient’s physician.
The patient’s doctor will provide more detailed information regarding the extent of the mesothelioma, as well as outline the most appropriate treatment options.