For many years, diagnostic imaging techniques have helped doctors and medical professionals analyze the human body in detail to detect illness, disease, and a variety of underlying conditions. If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, you’ve probably been on the receiving end of a CT scan.
Computed tomography uses a series of x-rays that act like a high-speed camera revolving around the body to take cross-sectional images of the bones, blood vessels, and soft tissues inside your body. As with any x-ray equipment, CT parts give off a small amount of radiation to perform their function, which leads to more detailed images to aid a doctor’s diagnosis. However, when it comes to treating cancer, CT scans play a much more significant role that helps patients and medical practitioners in a variety of ways.
CT Scans for Radiotherapy
One of the most well-known treatments for cancer is the use of radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy). CT scanners are regularly used in conjunction with radiotherapy planning to help doctors decide how much tissue will be exposed to radiation in order to treat tumors. The machine is capable of showing the tumor’s shape, size, and location, including the blood vessels that feed the tumor. Without the help of a fully functioning CT scanner, doctors will have to cut into the patient just to see where the tumor lies.
Compted Tomography Guided Biopsy
In the early stages of cancer diagnosis, CT scans are used to look for any abnormal tissues in a patient’s body. Doctors usually look for a lesion, a mass, or a tumor that could be cancerous. Once they’ve seen something that fits the description of those abnormalities, it’s possible to request a CT-guided biopsy to examine the tissue further and confirm if it is indeed cancerous.
The procedure is performed by obtaining a small tissue sample through a needle. CT scan is used to guide the needle into the lesion in the safest way possible. CT-guided biopsy is a minimally invasive procedure and is an alternative to an open surgical biopsy. This generally results in fewer complications and a faster recovery time.
Ultrasound and CT for Cervical Cancer
A group of researchers have found that CT scans paired with ultrasound images could produce significantly more detailed images than using standard CT scans on their own. By combining ultrasound with cone beam CT scans, they can pinpoint with better accuracy which areas require radiotherapy. Cone beam CT scans are a special type of CT that can be acquired during treatment to plan radiotherapy sessions. They were able to see a clearer outline of the positions of the uterus.
The researchers have found that both images were compatible and actually complimented each other/ Some regions in the scan that might not be visible on the CT were often clear on ultrasound and vice-versa. This opens up a level of precision that was previously not available to doctors when diagnosing and treating cervical cancer.
CT scans remain an important tool that many specialists rely on to help diagnose and treat cancer and other ailments. As time goes by, more applications of the technology continue to surprise researchers and medical experts on how they can better provide health care services to the community.
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