Imaging tests — such as MRIs, X-rays, and CT scans — are one category of tools that doctors use to help diagnose pancreatic cancer.

“A computed tomographic (CT) Scan is one of the first tests done during the diagnostic process. A computed tomographic (CT) Scan can provide images that help doctors determine the size and location of tumors, even if it isn’t enough to diagnose Pancreatic Cancer.”

Depending on the results, a CT scan might be followed by additional testing, such as an endoscopic ultrasound and a biopsy.

In this article, we look at computed tomography scans and how they are used to diagnose cancer.

Computer images and X-rays are used in computed tomtotography scans to create detailed images of the inside of the body. Computer images give more information than X-rays alone.

Doctors use scans to look at body parts such as bones, organs, blood vessels, fat, tissues and muscle.

The X-ray beams are sent around the body. The motion allows for different views of the picture.

A computer creates three-dimensional images from the views it interprets.

CT scans are an important part of the diagnostic process for many types of cancer, including pancreatic cancer. CT scans can create clear images of the pancreas, helping doctors see the exact size and location of a tumor.

A CT Scan can show if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Pancreatic cancer can be diagnosed with contrast dye scans. The dye helps make the images clearer.

If your doctor suspects you have Pancreatic Cancer, you might have a few different types ofCT scans. This includes:

  • Multiphase CT: A multiphase CT involves a set of images taken over several minutes to monitor for changes.
  • Cross-sectional CT: A cross-sectional CT scan takes images at different angles of your body to get an even better idea of the size and scope of your tumor.
  • CT-guided needle biopsy: A CT-guided needle biopsy is a type of diagnostic biopsy that is done with the aid of a CT scan.

A mass on a computed toms test is a sign of Pancreatic cancer. It is easier to see Pancreatic Cancer when contrast dye is used. The mass can be seen from the surrounding tissue.

You can see examples in the photos.

A CT scan is a noninvasive procedure. It’s most often done in an outpatient setting, meaning you won’t have to stay overnight in a hospital, and you’ll be able to drive yourself to and from your appointment.

You will be able to eat, drink, and take your standard medications on the day of your exam. If you are having a contrast test, you will be asked to not eat or drink for 3 hours before the test.

Your doctor will let you know if you will be having aCT Scan.

You will be asked to change into a gown at your appointment. It is important to remove jewelry before the exam. You will have a place to store your clothing during the test.

“Depending on your doctor’s recommendations, you can receive contrast liquid by oral or IV. You will lie back on a table that will slide into the machine.”

The microphone that the technologists give you will allow you to talk with them during the test.

“The machine will take X-rays. You need to lie down as the machine rotates. The scans don’t cause pain.”

“Most people don’t experience any unpleasant taste in their mouth or nausea from the contrast solution, and these effects only last a few minutes.”

CT scans typically take about 15 minutes, but they can also be longer, up to 1 hour and 15 minutes, if you’re having a scan with contrast dye.

“You will be able to get up after the exam. Some people can’t lie on a flat surface for the test because of their reactions to contrast solutions, and some people can.”

If you are concerned about having a CT Scan, talk to your doctor. There are ways to modify the procedure.

Pancreatic cancer can be diagnosed with a computed tom scans, but they are not perfect. Some people can miss cancer.

Research shows CT scans have an accuracy rate of about 83.3%. That’s less than magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs), which have an accuracy rate of 89.1%, and endoscopic ultrasounds (EUSs), which have an accuracy rate of 92.7%.

There is more to a diagnosis of Pancreatic Cancer than just aCT scans. If your doctor suspects Pancreatic Cancer, you will likely have a variety of other tests. This will include.

  • Positron emission tomography (PET): A PET scan is an imaging test that has you swallow a sugar substance prior to the scan. Cancer cells use more sugar than normal cells and will appear brighter in images. This test is used to see if cancer has spread.
  • MRI: An MRI uses magnetic imaging to create three-dimensional images. Sometimes, a specialized type of MRI, called an MRI cholangiopancreatography, is done to view the pancreatic and bile ducts.
  • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS): An EUS uses a thin tube called an endoscope to insert a small ultrasound probe directly into your pancreas. Sometimes, tissue and fluid samples for a biopsy are taken during an EUS.
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): An ERCP uses dye to make the bile ducts visible. Images are then taken with an endoscope, and cells are often collected for a biopsy.
  • Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC): A PCT test is done by placing a thin needle into the liver to inject contrast dye for bile duct imaging. This test is very invasive and isn’t done if an ERCP is possible.
  • Biopsy: During a biopsy, samples of tissue, fluid, or cells are collected so that they can be tested for cancer in a lab. Biopsies are normally done at the same time as another test, such as an EUS or ERCP.

How long does it take to get CT scan test results back?

“Depending on the testing facility you use and the doctor’s office, the time it takes to get your results back varies.”

It can be as little as a day or two. You can ask your doctor or the technician for a better idea.

Online patient portals allow you to access your results much faster than in the past.

Your doctor may prefer to share the news with you during a clinic visit when they can more carefully explain the results, answer questions, and discuss follow-up steps and treatment options.

Can you see cancer on a CT scan without contrast dye?

It is easier to see cancer on aCT Scan when there is a contrast dye. Doctors prefer to use contrast dye on the scans for Pancreatic Cancer.

Since not everyone can tolerate contrast dye, exceptions can be made.

What are the symptoms of pancreatic cancer and when should I get tested?

It’s common for people in the early stages of pancreatic cancer to not experience any symptoms at all. Sometimes, even later stages can be easy to mistake for less serious conditions.

They can include symptoms once they appear.

If you have any of these symptoms, they are probably not related to Pancreatic Cancer. If you have had them for more than a week, it is best to make a medical appointment.

Pancreatic cancer has the best treatment options and outcomes when it’s diagnosed early.

Who’s at most risk for pancreatic cancer?

There are several known risk factors for cancer. These include:

  • A family history of cancer.
  • Family cancer syndrome is a family trait.
  • smoking
  • There is a disease called diabetes.
  • “It’s obese.”
  • It is possible that there is chronic or hereditary pancreatitis.
  • Exposure to pesticides and chemicals in the workplace.
  • Being over 65.
  • Being a man.

You can read more about the risk factors that are linked to pancreatic cancer here.

The diagnostic process for Pancreatic Cancer uses computed tomography scans. They create detailed images that allow doctors to see inside the pancreas and get a better idea of the size and scope of tumors.

The contrast dye in the scans creates a clearer image.

“A CT Scan alone isn’t enough to diagnose cancer, but it can help doctors determine if further testing is needed You might have more precise testing after aCT Scan.”