Accuracy of CT Scan

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Accuracy of CT Scan

by jamiej44 on Sun Jan 20, 2019 09:32 PM

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Hi,

I'm interested to know if anyone knows how accurate a CT Scan is to detect pancreatic cancer? The doctor requested a ct scan with pancreatic protocol, I don't know exactly what that means, all it says on the radiologists report is 'multiple phase ct pancreas including non-contrast, post contrast during portal venous, arterial and delayed phases'. The scan came back clear.

I would like to know how certain the above is in ruling out pancreatic cancer.

A bit of background.... 

I am a 41 year old male. I consider myself to be fairly healthy, I like to eat relatively healthy, enjoy exercise and rarely drink alcohol. I am 180cm tall and weigh around 74kgs. 

About 4 months ago I started to experience a vague pain that moved around my lower abdomen, this pain is now predominately in my lower right abdomen (to the right of the belly button) and sometimes in my right hand side. It is not constantly there, it comes and goes. About two months ago I developed a dull pain/ache deep in my upper back, below my in right shoulder blade, again this is not there constantly, it comes and goes. I have had muscle pain in my back before from over exerting myself in sport or lifting a heavy object, this is different to that type of pain, no as intense.

During the past 4 months, I have had various other symptoms....

Episodes of light headiness and dizziness. 

A racing heart/heart palpitations.

An indigestion type feeling the indigestion feeling isn't a heartburn type feel, but more of a feeling that something is stuck in my throat that is ready to come up back up (but doesn't), I have been getting a mild feeling of nausea with this as well. I went through a period of a few weeks where I was belching excessively immediately after eating (this had now subsided, though has come back more mildly on a few occasions) 

Periods of fatigue. I am normally an active 'get up and go' kind of guy, though I started to feel very lethargic and unmotivated. 

Instances of getting a bad chemical taste in my mouth, I also noticed that when drinking beer it tasted disgusting and not at all as it normally does. 

Tongue Sores


My belly constantly pulses up and down, which is especially noticeable when sitting or lying down. I have been told this is completely normal though it's something I have never experienced before. I also know that I'm not overweight though I certainly have belly fat.

Changes to my normal bowel habits.

I have had blood tests, a colonoscopy and endoscopy and nothing untoward has showed up. I appreciate that I have had a lot of testing, which has come back clear, though I also know that PC is not always picked up from CT scans and that sometimes it is missed or that alternative testing is required. 

I'm not saying I'm convinced I have PC, though it certainly has been a worry for me. I would just like to know how confidently it could be ruled out.

Thank you

RE: Accuracy of CT Scan

by Baloo on Tue Jan 22, 2019 02:34 PM

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From my experience, all I can tell you is that I had symptoms long before anything was detected on an ultrasound. I had a weird strong pulse to the left of my navel years before anything showed up. Now I don't know if a CT scan would have picked it up sooner, but an ultrasound did pick up a 3x3.5 cm tumor a couple of years later in the same place the pulse was,  which did show up in the followup CT scan.There is definitely a lower limit of what size tumor can actually be seen, as far as I understand it- but my   CT scans  pick up a 3mm size thing in my lung that they think is benign, which is pretty small. 

So a CT scan will never be able to tell that you do NOT have cancer. I think there are other tests which can be done to  confirm/support CT results, like PET scans and CA 19-9 tests. If I were you I'd insist on repeat CT scans/ other tests/a second opinion  if your symptoms continue and they cannot tell you why. That's how I would deal with this. Serious symptoms like this should not be ignored or dismissed,  I think.

RE: Accuracy of CT Scan

by tweixel on Sat Feb 16, 2019 01:30 PM

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My ct scan detected a pancreatic mass then they did an endoscopy to confirm. Can you get your doctor to order an endoscopy. They will give you a sedative and go down your throat with a camera and can take tissue to biopsy. That would be my next move. Also did they do a CA19 with blood work? You need to get to the bottom of this. Keep pushing for answers. Good luck !!!.

RE: Accuracy of CT Scan

by tweixel on Sat Feb 16, 2019 01:32 PM

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Sorry didn't see you had already had endosopy..

RE: Accuracy of CT Scan

by denver88 on Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:49 PM

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CT scans are one of several tools for diagnosis and are helpful.  My first scan, CT, did not identify my pc tumors, i pushed for an MRI and that identified the tumors.  Your symptoms could be related to many issues but I refused all the knee jerk conclusions such as problems with gerd and pushed for the MRI that may have saved a further worse situation or my life expectancy as it was caught very early, surgery and medical applications can contain/remove many types of tumors.  If you are still in doubt, like I was and i could have been wrong, demand an MRI then if they find no tumors you can at least rule that out.  I get periodic CT and MRI scans and they are different and use different injected contrast chemicals to locate tumors and the MRIs always seem to provide more definitive information but just my observation.  If your CT scan has contrast to specifically detect tumors and pc that may also be conclusive and no need for MRI.  Each case is different but get this phase of tumor identification ruled out now.

RE: Accuracy of CT Scan

by Qz889l on Fri Feb 22, 2019 01:02 AM

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You may want to look into RCC - kidney cancer.  Some of the symptoms you describe fit the profile.  Most often it doesn't present any symptoms, and is usually found by accident.  When symptoms do present themselves, it is usually at stage 4.  My RCC was found exactly this way.... By accident.

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