U.S. doctors online nowAsk doctors free
Centereach, NY
A 42-year-old female asked:

I just had an angio pulmonary cat scan with contrast to rule out a pulmonary embolism. can that detect lung cancer? chest xray normal. 42 years old.

4 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Stuart Hickerson
Family Medicine 33 years experience
Yes: This type of Chest scan is primarily focused on the pulmonary artery and vasculature which is why you received the contrast. However, it is still a Chest CT and it takes a good look and the lung tissue too. It would see your lung tumor if it were there.
Dr. Evan Lenkowsky
Critical Care 17 years experience
Yes: A CTA will be able to detect abnormal lung masses with fairly decent accuracy. The test of choice would be a CT without contrast, however most radiologists can read through the added contrast material.
Dr. Edward Druy
Radiology 54 years experience
Depends on size: Many patients who undergo a ct scan of the chest will have small or medium size nodules that are non-specific. A radiologist will document the size, and depending on the patients age and risk factors for developing lung cancer will recommend appropriate followup studies or sometimes even recommend a biopsy. We can suspect, but not diagnose lung cancer without a tissue diagnosis.
Dr. Michael Gabor
Diagnostic Radiology 34 years experience
Yes,: that type of CT can detect lung cancer. Tiny nodules 2mm or less can potentially be detected. There are benign causes for nodules as well, so although CT is good at finding nodules, and possibly assigning a reasonable probability of malignancy based on certain imaging features, CT cannot make a definitive diagnosis of cancer.
Last updated Apr 16, 2018

Disclaimer:

Content on HealthTap (including answers) should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and interactions on HealthTap do not create a doctor-patient relationship. Never disregard or delay professional medical advice in person because of anything on HealthTap. Call your doctor or 911 if you think you may have a medical emergency.