A CT scan is an x-ray examination that gives much more information than a normal x-ray. It produces detailed pictures of a cross section of the inside of the body.
A radiologist (a specialised x-ray doctor) and a radiographer carry out the examination. The CT scan takes between 10 and 30 minutes. The time will vary for each patient and it may be necessary to be in the Radiology Department for up to 90 Minutes.
You may be asked not to eat or drink anything for at least four hours before your appointment. Most people who have a CT scan are given a drink or injection about an hour before the scan, to allow particular areas of the body to be seen more clearly. During the scan it is necessary to lie still on the scan table and to hold your breath several times.
The CT scan pictures will be reported by a radiologist (specialised X-ray doctor) and the results will be sent to the consultant who requested the scan.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) Scan
This test is similar to a CT scan and it is only occasionally used in mesothelioma.
An MRI test uses a powerful magnet and a computer to produce detailed images of any part of the body. An MRI scan usually takes between 20 and 40 minutes. The time will vary for each patient.
During the scan it is necessary to lie on the scanner table that is then moved into the magnet. During the scan there is a rhythmic tapping sound that can become quite loud. For some scans it may be necessary to hold your breath several times. A contrast agent (a colourless liquid that shows up on the scan) may be injected into a vein to show more information on the scan. The radiologist (specialised X-ray doctor) will decide this on the day and you will be fully informed.
A radiologist will interpret your MRI scan pictures and the results will be sent to the consultant who requested the scan.
This is an examination of some of the organs and / or blood vessels in the body. Warm gel is placed on the skin and the ultrasound probe passed over the area. The ultrasound probe produces high frequency sound waves. Reflections from these sound waves enable images of the internal organs to be seen on a television screen. An ultrasound scan usually takes up to 15 minutes although the time will vary for each patient.
A radiologist or sonographer will interpret the ultrasound scan pictures and the results will be sent to the consultant who requested the scan.
PET (positron emission tomography)
A PET scan uses low-dose radioactive sugar to measure the activity of cells in different parts of the body. A very small amount of a mildly radioactive contrast is injected into a vein, usually in your arm. A scan is then taken. Areas of cancer take up more of the radioactive contrast that normal surrounding tissue so they show up on the scan.
PET scans are a new type of scan and you may have to travel to a specialist centre to have one. They are occasionally used in mesothelioma.