CLL Support Association

CT scan series part 9 – more on Need for CT scanning

CT scans may be a little like virginity, argued from a conservative position, in that saving it for the right person is the proper course to follow whereas a liberal view, Hmmm..., well..., lets just say I am a conservative when it comes to CT scans(-; Most patients Initially DXed are in a state of anxiety and perhaps the CT scan is a surrogate for “doing something” in the land of Wait & Watch with feel good benefits extending to the Doctor as well as the patient.

Need an even better reason to avoid excessive CT scans early in W&W?

You are increasingly a potential candidate to take part in some future Clinical Trial which will demand CT-scans as a condition of your enrollment. Consideration for future participation in a Clinical Trial should be held in your mind as an all important context where frequent CT-scans will be required as opposed to the clinical management context of CLL in W&W or even the therapy context of your CLL journey. I would urge everyone to adopt the mindset that they will be actively seeking enrollment in a Clinical Trial at some time in future. The newer agents and understanding of CLL biology will almost guarantee benefits for quality of Life, Longevity with less side effects not to leave out your contribution toward new and better ways to treat all the members of our Tribe. All of those positives will be gained only through acceptance of multiple CT scans.

Certain clinical symptoms such as pain, organ dysfunction or histologically discovered makers may require imaging to see what is going on. You may sense something your Doc might be missing that warrants your asking for a CT scan but ask if an ultrasound image or an MRI would suffice. Neither technology involves use of ionizing radiation. Payment for MRIs or patients with Pace Makers may be problematic so check with your insurance. I had a PM put in in 2012 that is MRI tolerant so keep that in mind if a PM is in your future.

A wise family Doc suggest an ultrasound as opposed to my first NY Onc who ordered a CT to see if internal nodes were obstructing kidney function due to unexplained & worrying test results early in W&W showing rising creatinine and decreasing kidney filtration. A valid situation for imaging need. An ultra sound worked well for me in that case.

After completing a therapy protocol it makes sense to assess the efficacy of the treatment on the internal nodes by CT to strategize the need for stopping or continuing therapy. We should not be universally for or against CT scans. 'Know when to hold'em Know when to fold'em!' As an old poker player might sing so play your hand well.



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