Would my doctor be able to see whether my lung cancer has spread to my lymph nodes on a CT scan?

Yes, but with just a. Little more accuracy than a coin-flip based on size. Ct's miss small things, and falsely label benign things cancer. Proving nodal positivity is helped with pet scans, endoscopic ultrasonography with esophagoscopy or bronchoscopy, and sometimes surgery. Why the fuss? If nodes are +, the role of surgery is limited, and surgery is no picnic, and despite trying to prove its benefit, we're not sure.
Not really. Agree with dr cooke and others. A ct scan can tell you if the nodes appear to be abnormal. Ct scan does not diagnose cancer and can not tell you if there is cancer in the lymph nodes. If you have cancer, abnormal nodes may or may not be because of the cancer. You would need tissue/node biopsies to determine if there is cancer in the nodes.
Not definitely. Clinical stage refers to our best guess based on imaging studies, such as chest ct, pet/ct and brain mri, and minor procedures, such as mediastinoscopy, lung biopsy and something called endobronchial ultrasound needle biopsy, or ebus. Ct scan alone is not very sensitive for detecting cancer in lymph nodes.
Not with certainty. If there were enlarged lymph nodes on ct, that would be very suspicious for lymph node metastasis. Unfortunately, a normal sized lymph node can still have cancer cells in it, so ct is not specific. Pet/ct is somewhat better, since it looks for increased metabolism as well, but it also can miss tumors that are very small (<5 mm if very hyper metabolic, <1 cm if less hyper metabolic).

Related Questions

CT scan "Tiny nodule in subpleural right lung base" 34f smoked 13 yrs quit 2 wks doc says rescan in few mths. I can't stop worrying it's lung cancer?

Follow up scan. what are the size of the tiny nodules to be precise here? if they are so small like a few mm only, there is nothing much you can do at this time anyway as biopsy would likely not be able to be done due to the limited size. No need to worry at this time. people can have scarring or granuloma which can be presented as small lung nodules. You definitely need to get a follow up CT scan to compare them. 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...

Had hodgkins lymphoma 5 years ago just recently started feeling bad. Just had CT scan of my lungs where they found some lymph nodes. Is it possibl e the cancer has come back.?

Possible need workup. Remarkable progress has been made in treating hodgkins lymphoma, with chemotherapy, unfortunately could recur in few, need work up pet scan and possible biopsy to rule out recurrence.Talk to your oncologist. Read more...
Yes. It is somewhat rare for hotchkins lymphoma to recur five years after initial treatment. If the lymphoma was originally in the mediastinum (the center of the chest) it could recur in the lungs or the lymph nodes there again. A biopsy must be performed. Sorry. Read more...

How reassured would you be that you did not have lung cancer if you had a negative CT scan but still had some of the non respiratory symptoms?

Not sure of question. If by "symptoms" you mean a shortness of breath, tiring easily etc., these are very general symptoms that can be attributed to other things like asthma, COPD, etc. Anxiety and stress can also cause these respiratory symptoms. Good Luck. Read more...

If I was having possible signs of lung cancer pain in chest cough a ct scan would probably detect the tumor?

It should per... Mayo Clinic: "A CT scan can reveal small lesions in your lungs that might not be detected on an X-ray. If you have a cough and are producing sputum, looking at the sputum under the microscope can sometimes reveal the presence of lung cancer cells." Ref: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lung-cancer/basics/tests-diagnosis/con-20025531. Read more...
Lung cancer. Yes, it would probably detect a cancer butI would see a physician as you may have something less serious such as bronchitis and a chest X-ray may be all that is required . Read more...

Might it be lung cancer if I had a CT scan done of the chest and it showed 4 small nodules and now I have pain under rib cage?

Unlikely. Though it is possible for lung cancer to cause pain in the wall of the chest, this usually happens when tumors are larger. The nodules you have will need followed with additional ct scans or biopsied/removed depending on size and your risk for lung cancer. However, it's unlikely for small nodules to be the cause of your pain. Check with your pcp or see a lung doc about the nodules. Read more...
Need evaluation . Small nodules usually are painless. However metastatic nodules could have other nodules in chest wall, ribs etc. In south, histoplasmosis commonly produces lung nodules. Or desert fever, coccidiomycosis can do that. Read more...