When would you do a spiral CT scan to check for lung cancer?

High risk groups. It is recommended for two groups: 1- 55 to 74 yo with 30 pack year smoking, current smokers or quit in past 15 years. 2- 50 & older minimum 20 pack years and at least one additional risk factor.
Screening Criteria. The national lung screening trial has demonstrated that people who are aged 55-74, heavy smokers, or quit within 15 years have increased survival if they undergo screening for lung cancer with a low dose chest ct scan.
Lesion on X-ray. A suspicious lesion on a chest x-ray may need to be investigated by ct to get a better resolution. Other signs and symptoms that may suggest exclusion of lung cancer, are unexplained cough with or without blood tinged sputum, unexplained enlarged cervical node or mediastinal lymph nodes, unexplained metastases. Spiral ct refers to the method of doing ct.
Almost always. Almost all medical diagnosis' are evaluated by history, physical exam, and some testing. In a smoker with new chest symptoms ( cough, pain, difficulty breathing ) it would be recommended. Most often a chest x-ray or ct scan is performed for an entirely other reason and a lung nodule or mass is found that turns out to be lung cancer.

Related Questions

How often should one have a spiral CT scan to check for lung cancer?

Rarely. A ct scan is not a screening exam. You only do one when you are looking at something with high suspicion. That is a lot of radiation to be routinely exposed to when you are screening for cancer. Read more...
New study. Recent low dose screening ct trial suggests that heavy smokers be screened and was associated with better overall survival. Read more...
Depends. Ct-scan screening for lung cancer is appropriate for specific patients that meet certain criteria. See this link: http://www.Cancer.Net/publications-and-resources/what-know-ascos-guidelines/what-know-accp-and-asco-guideline-lung-cancer-screening/recommendations-lung-cancer-screening. Read more...

Is it possible to get lung cancer from a spiral CT scan?

Possible. Not from one, but from many. Cts dose you with radiation. The more you have the higher the risk of getting cancer. Most common are immune cancers such as lymphoma and leukemia. Read more...
Possible Not Likely. Medical radiation is estimated to cause about 1% of cancers. Patients trested with radiation therapy have about a 0.5% chance of having a radiation related 2nd cancer. The risk from a single spiral ct is considerably less and would likely occur 10-20 years after the exposure. Bottom line is that tests like ct scans should only be ordered for good reasons. Read more...

Is it feasible to have had small cell lung cancer causing malabsorption for 1 year but not show on CT scan.

No. Although a negative CT does not guarantee that you are totally free of cancer cells, your malabsorption has nothing to do with the cancer. If you have received radiation for the condition, then that Rx might potentially though unlikely lead to GI changes. Read more...

Is it true that the primary tumor in small cell lung cancer is often occult? Does this mean even a CT scan can't see it? Do we only detect on spread

At some point. in its development, every cancer is "occult" because it originates on a microscopic level. CT has a high sensitivity for detecting lung cancer, approximately 95%, so CT will detect the vast majority of lung cancers. Read more...

Is it possible that CT scan shows no pleural masses while I have lung cancer and massive effusion?

Unusual but yes. CT scans have limited resolution. They do NOT see everything. Usually large pleural effusions come from significant disease, but not always cancer. The only way to tell is to have the pleural effusion drained & sent for cytology & other testing (culture). The lab techs can spin down the fluid, isolate cells or bacteria that may be causing it. Talk to a pulmonologist or your primary doc. Good luck! Read more...
Explanation . No pleural effusion On CT means that you do not have massive effusion. All other questions should be discussed with your doctor, not on line without CT result. . Read more...

What is CT scan usual result for lung cancer?

Ct scan. Ct scan will tell you about the anatomy. So, you may see a mass on the lung -ct will tell you the size, the location, proximity to adjacent organ-vasculature etc, and perhaps also lymph nodes enlargement on the chest area. Pleural effusion can also be seen. It also can show you bone lesions, liver masses, adrenal mass-that may be related to the lung mass/spread from the lung mass. Etc. Read more...
"Nodule" A solid mass or nodule however it is difficult to define benign vs malignant. Pet/ct may more helpful where there is suspicion. However, this may also limited in differentiating infection/ inflammation from cancer. That being said, imaging does not arrive at a pathological diagnosis. When possible, any suspicion of lung cancer requires pathological confirmation through a biopsy. Read more...
Need biopsy. A ct scan or chest x ray that is likely positive for lung cancer often shows a mass in the lung area, or by the mediastinum. It is likely rerported as a mass in the lung, suggesting malignancy, but it could be something else, like tuberculosis. So a biopsy of the mass is done to definitively determine what the mass is. Read more...