One of the most useful technologies for diagnosing cancer is CT – computed tomography. If you're looking for an accurate assessment of your condition, Kirk Kanady, MD, and Maria Sosa, MD, of Greater Houston Radiation Oncology are experts in using detailed CT images to locate and assess many forms of cancer. The practice has two offices in Houston, Texas, and one in Huntsville, Texas. Call the Greater Houston Radiation Oncology office nearest you today or use the online booking form to schedule an appointment.
CT is short for computed tomography. It's a type of diagnostic scan that uses X-ray technology to create cross-sectional pictures of the structures inside your body.
By combining multiple images, CT gives your provider at Greater Houston Radiation Oncology a clear, detailed view of your bones, soft tissues, and blood vessels. They can use these images to make a diagnosis and help plan your treatment.
Your provider at Greater Houston Radiation Oncology might recommend a CT scan to locate tumors and assess the extent of their spread. CT scans are useful for monitoring cancer and the effectiveness of the treatments you're receiving.
CT technology is also helpful for guiding surgical procedures, biopsies, and radiation therapy.
CT is a safe, well-established form of diagnostic technology with many benefits. However, when you have a CT scan, your body does receive a dose of ionizing radiation, and exposure to radiation could increase the risk of cancer.
The radiation levels during a CT scan are higher than those you'd experience if you had an X-ray, as the CT scan is more detailed. The levels are still low, though, and present minimal long-term risk.
The exposure you get during a CT scan is brief, and your provider at Greater Houston Radiation Oncology uses the minimum amount of radiation possible. Even at much higher doses, there would only be a small increase in your risk of developing cancer.
If you're pregnant, your provider might suggest a different type of scan, just to be on the safe side.
Before you have your CT scan, you need to take off anything metal that you're wearing because this could interfere with the scan. You also change into a hospital gown.
If you need to make any special preparations such as not eating before your scan, your provider at Greater Houston Radiation Oncology lets you know in advance.
To be of optimal use, your CT scan might need a contrast material to highlight certain structures inside your body. If so, before your scan begins, your provider either injects the contrast material, gives you a liquid to drink, or places the material in your rectum.
The scan itself is painless, so you won't need a sedative. You need to keep still to ensure the pictures are clear. The CT machine is ring-shaped, resembling a huge donut. Your body goes through the ring of the donut on a motorized table.
As the scan begins, you might hear some noise as the machinery rotates around you, taking pictures. You might need to hold your breath now and then – the technologist performing the scan tells you when via an intercom. You can also alert them if you have any problems.
CT scans take around 30 minutes, and you can carry on with your day as normal after your scan is complete. To find out more, call Greater Houston Radiation Oncology today or book an appointment online.