Scanning is a key diagnostic and surveillance tool for any cancer. Even though you have elevated bloods or urine (….or not), a picture of your insides is really like a thousand words…. and each picture has a story behind it. Scanning can be a game changer in the hunt for tumours and although scans can’t confirm the cancer type and grade, they certainly help with that piece of detective work and are key in the staging of the cancer.
When I read stories of people in a difficult diagnosis, I always find myself saying ‘a scan might resolve this’ and I always suggest people should try to get one. Even in the case of a story about late diagnosis or a misdiagnosis, I find myself thinking ‘if only they had done a scan earlier’. A CT scan will find evidence of most tumours.
However, scans are not an exact science…..not yet! Apart from human error, sometimes tumours are too small to see or there are issues with ‘pickup’ (i.e. with NETs, certain scans need efficient receptors). However, technology is improving all the time and you can read about this in my blog Neuroendocrine Cancer – Exciting times Ahead.
As for my own experience, I was very lucky. I managed to get a referral to a specialist early on in my diagnosis phase. He looked at the referral notes and said “what are you doing this afternoon”. I replied “whatever you want me to do”. The scan results were pretty clear – I had a metastatic Cancer and further checks were now needed to ascertain exactly what it was. So I took my seat on the rollercoaster. Here’s something I always say which is I think is so much better than the conventional and impractical early diagnosis messages that seem to pervade our community: If your doctors don’t suspect something, they wont detect anything.
I found this useful video summary from the NET Patient Foundation describing the different scans for NET Cancer and what to expect. Worth a look.
CLICK HERE for the scan video
Thanks for listening
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