Types of Diagnostic X-rays and Scans
The main type of scans used to assess and track the effectiveness of treatment by charting the growth, or otherwise, of non-cancerous asbestos related diseases and tumours associated with mesothelioma cancer are:
- Standard X-rays
- CT and CAT Scans
- High Resolution CT Scans
- PET Scans
Standard X-rays, such as ‘Chest X-rays’ are a photographic or digital image of the internal composition of the body – these are the most basic and common forms of scans used, and generally what you would expect to have first up in the diagnostic process.
CT and Cat Scans
CT and CAT scans are the abbreviated terms for ‘Computer Tomography’ and ‘Computer Assisted Tomography’.
They are a medical imaging procedure that uses computer-processed X-rays to produce tomographic images or ‘slices’ of specific areas of the body. To the layperson, these scans come across as shadows and do not show up as being defined. They are the most common form of scans referred to when talking about initial mesothelioma diagnostic scans, and when judging the effectiveness of treatment by comparative analysis.
High Resolution CT Scans (HRCT)
High Resolution Computerised Tomography scans are CT Scans viewed at a high resolution. HRCT scans are commonly used to diagnose and assess Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma, although diagnosis is generally accepted as only being definitive by way of tissue biopsy. HRCT scans are often used when judging the effectiveness of treatment by comparative analysis.
PET scan is the abbreviated term for ‘Positron Emission Tomography’.
It is a nuclear medical imaging technique that produces a three-dimensional image or picture of functional processes in the body. The system detects pairs of gamma rays emitted indirectly by a positron-emitting tracer – taken orally before the scan commences. Three-dimensional images of the tracer within the body are then constructed by computer analysis.
If that all sounds a bit technical, it is basically where you drink a liquid (the ‘tracer’), then you have an ongoing form of X-ray as the tracer works its’ way through the parts of the body that needs to be checked out.
If the PET scan machine is modern, three-dimensional imaging is often accomplished with the aid of a CT scan performed on the sufferer during the same session, in the same machine.
PET scans show a much more defined image than a CT or CAT scan. PET scans are far more expensive, and thus, are not as readily available as CT or CAT scans.
PET scans and CT – CAT scans have their own applications – a ‘specialist’ oncologist/respiratory physician will advice the most applicable scan to have.
Supportive Care Options
Supportive Care Options is about maintaining or improving quality of life for sufferers of asbestos or dust related disease, at the same time allowing their loved ones to also have a quality of life during all stages of the disease. It is about working out what support and care options are available, and then putting in place strategies to help sufferers and their loved ones navigate the journey ahead in the best possible way.
Supportive Care Options should be discussed as soon as possible after diagnosis with your treating physician, hospital social worker or other care providers. You should also talk immediately with a specialist asbestos dust litigator regarding possible compensation.