What are the advantages of CT scanning in the workup of secondary lung tumors?

Updated: Feb 16, 2021
  • Author: Daniel S Schwartz, MD, MBA, FACS; Chief Editor: John Geibel, MD, MSc, DSc, AGAF  more...
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Since the introduction of CT in the 1970s, remarkable advances have been made not only in clinicians’ ability to diagnose lung cancer but, more important, in clinical staging. CT can define the location, size, and anatomic characteristics of a tumor far better and more precisely than chest radiography can, [10]  and it is used to delineate the locoregional extent and distal spread of a lung tumor.

The major advantages of CT are related to its axial format, higher-density resolution, and wider dynamic range. Continuous technical improvements and the development of more powerful and faster computers are responsible for the fact that current CT examinations of the chest produce a large amount of detailed imaging information in a very short time. Because of this evolution in technique, the development of new therapeutic strategies for lung cancer, and the introduction of PET, the contribution of CT to the staging of patients with lung cancer has been fluid. [11]

The identification of smaller lesions with CT offers the opportunity for improved diagnosis and earlier treatment of metastatic disease, which are likely to be beneficial. However, the magnitude of benefit has not been clearly documented by the literature. The increased sensitivity of CT has also resulted in an increased frequency of identification of nonmalignant lesions, which must be distinguished from true malignancies.

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