CT Scan Services
Computed tomography (CT), also known as Computed Axial Tomography (CAT), is a painless, sophisticated x-ray procedure. Multiple images are taken during a CT or CAT scan, and a computer compiles them into complete, cross-sectional pictures ("slices") of soft tissue, bone, and blood vessels.
A CT scan obtains images of parts of the body that cannot be seen on a standard x-ray. Therefore, these scans often result in earlier diagnosis and more successful treatment of many diseases.
A CT scan is considered to be a safe examination. While CT imaging does involve x-rays, the diagnostic benefits generally outweigh the risks of x-ray (radiation) exposure. In some CT scans, contrast agents or sedatives may be used. A contrast agent is a substance used to "highlight" an organ or tissue during examination and is sometimes referred to as a "dye." Again, the benefits of early, accurate diagnosis generally outweigh any risks.
Screening for Early Stage Lung Cancer: Low-Dose CT
What is currently the best way to screen for early stage lung cancer?
Low-dose CT (computed tomography) is one of the newest tools available for diagnosing early stage lung cancer when it is most treatable.
Wake Forest Baptist has been designated a Lung Cancer Screening Center of Excellence. This tool consists of a low dose, non-contrasted CT that uses X-rays to scan the entire chest in about 5 to 10 seconds. It differs from a regular chest CT because the radiation dose is reduced, an IV is not required, and no contrast is used.
What is the difference between a screening exam and a diagnostic exam?
A screening is a test to find a disease before it causes symptoms or problems. A lung cancer screening is done to find lung cancer before it has spread.
Diagnostic testing is done if you have signs or symptoms of lung cancer or when a screening test finds something that looks like cancer. It is different from screening because it can involve scans with higher amounts of radiation, other tests to look at the lungs, and taking lung tissue samples.