Cat scan

Hi, I have a question about having a cat scan. I had a cat scan about three years ago. I have emphysema and asthma. My pulmunologist want me to take another cat scan to detect if there is any lung cancer. He said it is recommended. I don't have any symptoms, but he said it's a precautionary measure. I really don't like the idea of taking a scan,and exposing my body to radiation . I'm just wondering if I'm over reacting, and how other people with this disease feel about this. Would you get the scan, or not. Thank you in advance for your replies.


32 Replies


Over reacting can't answer that decision is individual.

I would and ask them to show the results on screen and explain in detail what they have found or how much change since your last ctscan.


I can only give you e.g. of what happened with myself.

Around 2004 I had a ct scan. This year following pneumonia, I had another.

So 11 years between the two. This one did reveal a new dx, though happily not cancer.

We most frequently use the term consultant or specialist here in the U.K. rather than pulmunologist (sp?), so Im wondering if you are in the U.S. or Canada, or somewhere not in the U.K. And if so, whether there are different guidelines in whichever country it is.

Personally i would not want another ct scan so soon unless there was a specific suspicion about something serious as yet undiagnosed but obviously don't know what your doctor is basing this on. I would want to ask about this but if his only answer was that its recommended, you should probably ask: "Recommended by whom?"

Thanks for your reply. I do live in the U.S.,and dr. I will ask my dr. Why he recommends this.hope you are doing well.

It's interesting that people are saying they have had them far more frequently than i have. It is a big decision, good luck with it Batbara :)


I've had 4 CT scans in 5 yrs. It upsets me to think about it but the last one I had about 1 month ago showed a big change for the worse. At least now I am being treated more aggressively and might improve. I wish you luck with your decision.


I would have the scan I have had several scans over last 3 years and also several xrays , I personally would rather have the scan so they can see every thing is ok if there is something showing they can start treatment early ,

Tells the different types on this link

I do know that they can find a lot more out from ct scan than an x ray.

Be Well

Hi Barbara, I have to agree with Mr M, I would rather have the scan to detect something so it can be treated straight away or have the knowledge everything is ok in my opinion both serve a purpose. Ultimately ur decision and we can only say what ourselves would do. Best wishes which ever u decide xx Sonia xx

Hi I don't think they would have said they wanted to do scan unless they thought it was really necessary. How would you feel if you didn't have it then found out too late it was lung cancer? It is your decision but I would want to know. Good luck. x

Good point Cough

Over the last 5 years I've had at least 3 CT scans, 3 MRI scans, 2 bone scans, 1 muga scan, 2 other scans I don't remember their names done on lung transplant assessment and a good 30 chest Xrays. I don't glow in the dark just yet :) .

If they recommend it then have it done Barbara as the benefits well outweigh the risks.

you seemed to be glowing at Christmas after them 4 1/2 pints of cider at the pub ,

That's right mmzetor, I was glowing red faced, rocking and living, a Christmas Eve to remember eh'.

Mind you that was nothing on New Years Eve :) , that's when the party really started Ha Ha.

Personally I would have the scan. I'd want to know any changes and I agree with what Coughalot says.

A copy of my first, and last, scan in 2013 is indelibly imprinted in my brain.

Barbara, I have a CT scan once a year. I'm too worried about what they may show, that it's never occurred to me to worry a out the radiation. I don't think it will do you any harm and it will help a lot with diagnosis.

Batbara, this is a hard one. Does your consultant have any genuine reason for doing this scan, is the question you need answering. I would share your concern. The Brompton in London (renowned UK lung hospital) generally only do them every 4-5 years UNLESS there is a significant reason to bring it forward. So, I once had 2 within 3 months, but now only every 4-5 years because although my condition is gradually worsening, they don't suspect any new lung condition, so a ct scan is only going to show the extent of further damage, which isn't that helpful & doesn't change treatment. It's a great deal more powerful than an x-ray (and of course MRIs, DEXA scans etc are totally different.) I think you should talk further with your consultant, maybe you could email him?

I agree with most of the comments I would go for the scan. It would give a better picture. I have only had one scan but I wish they would offer me one just now so I can find out why I am breathless all the time and nothing they are giving me will clear it up take care xx

I would have the scan as it will also tell you if the emphysema has increased or still the same.


Jesus I've had 5 this year!!! Never even thought about the radiation. Ah well- my lungs are fecked anyway so they'll probably get me first lol

I agree with others, I'd prefer to know what's going on. Best of luck

Do have the scan - I had a lot of tests - X-ray, ultrasound, blood & urine tests etc etc and everything came back normal. I then had a CT scan and that showed up the cancerous tumour on my kidney as well as one on my lung. I had both removed 6 years ago and still here to tell the tale. So for me it's a no-brainer. xx

Have the scan, if you don't you could end up worrying if there is a problem or not. From my point of view I rather know. Have CT scans about 1 a year, at least I know what's happening down there in my lungs.

Take care.


Do you have to pay? Problem with places like the States is they make money from doing it. UK it's free (at point of delivery) so you'll only get it if necessary as there's a waiting list with targets to achieve.

Quite commonly nodules are detected as an aside in lung CT scans in c20% of scans.

However ex smokers have a higher incidence (c.50%) and in a small % of instances they are pre cancerous. They rule this out by measuring them at intervals to see if they're growing. They do that by a series of directed (smaller) CT scans over a period of years - depending on initial size, usually at 6mths 1year 2 years - if no increase in size - all clear.

If this is what they're doing, he should have explained it, an early diagnosis could be life saving.

Best wishes

I have a CT scan every 6 months because I have nodules on my lungs and we need to know if there are any changes taking place. I have severe emphysema = COPD.

I would like to say thank you for all the thoughtful replies. I will seriously take into account everyone's advice. I am leaning toward getting that scan on the 19 the of this month. I didn't mention this in my initial post, but the reason I'm somewhat unsure of this test is because I have an autoimmune disease, and if they found cancer I wouldn't be a candidate for chemotherapy. My dr. Said that if they caught it early they might be able to treat it with radiation. Hopefully My scan will come back negative.then I won't have to deal with it.

You folks are so awesome in how you respond to others so quickly. Thanks again so much. I really appreciate all your answers and help very much.

Best wishes for good health to all of you.


Well good luck with it Barbara, fingers crossed you come back to us in a couple of weeks to say it was all clear!

Why not ask if they could use an MRI Scan instead? Sometimes it is just the individual Docs preference for a CT Scan where another type of scan will do the same job - other times a particular type of scan is better than another. also ask about the cumulative amount of radiation you have had from your scans - I have had to have 3 scans last year and a X Ray and am about to have another scan next week but I have a module in my lung which needs to be monitored. My Docs know I am concerned about the radiation and have shown me that on every scan or X Ray your radiation score is shown.

No one can advise you it is your decision but should be shared with your Doc so that they can advise you.



Hello Sian. I did ask about a Mri instead of a cat scan. They told me that there is actually more radiation in the Mri. I did not know that. I did get the scan last Monday and they found a small 4 ml nodule. They will monitor that. Guess it was a good idea to get the scan. Hope you are getting along well. Thank you for your post.

Well done for having the scan. It has proved to be the right thing to do 😊.

Hi Batbara glad you went for the scan. I am also waiting to have a scan take care

Thanks Amanda. Wishing you good luck on your scan.

Having had a fight with a Sarcoma from April 2008 until now, I have lost count of the CT scans, and PET scans and x-rays I have had. In France we keep them at home with us and have to trek then into a consultation in case they are needed!

It never occurred to me to worry about being over-irradiated, though my husband kept saying I would glow in the dark soon. The doctors have reduced their requests for more scans.

My main aim was to learn what I had inside me so that I could visualise it in my attempts to fight it. One day, the sarcoma just vanished, and, so far, has not been replaced by anything else. If I have to have more scans to diagnose something else I would have one.

Best Wishes to all having scans soon!

That's wonderful news. I definitely understand the logic. Keep visualizing, and stay well !!

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