This is an imaging test which provides 2-dimensional and cross – sectional images of the internal organs of the body. It is a form of an X-ray which uses radiation to generate the image on the film. CT scan is short for computerized tomography scan. A dye – comtrast radioactive material is injected into the body for this test. This dye can harm the kidneys, so a kidney function test is undertaken prior to this procedure. In this test the patient is made to lie down on a table and this table is passed through a round oval machine which captures X- rays of different parts of the body under examination. These x-ray images are collated by the computer to give detailed image of the internal body organs.
Now-a –days CT scan is predominantly used to track suspected invasive cancers. To asses if the cancer cells have spread to the surrounding tissue like the chest wall. Thus helping the surgeon make a decision on the treatment plan, in this case if mastectomy can be used or not.
CT scan also tracks movement of tumor cells to other parts of the body like the spine, liver, brain, lungs or lymph nodes. This invasion of the cancer cells is usually a later stage characteristic and as such this test is rarely done on initial stages affected women. Before the start of the treatment for an aggressive cancer, a CT scan is helpful to check the cancer spread to abdomen, chest or even head. During the course of treatment and post treatment this technique is useful for assessing the response of the body to the therapy. Later CT scan may be done to check the recurrence of the cancerous cells in the body.