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    Old 01-02-2004, 05:06 PM   #1
    Join Date: Jan 2004
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    The_Cheese_Man HB User
    Exclamation Question of CT scan w/dye

    The other day I had a CT scan with contrast dye of my head and neck. I had this done because the lymph nodes under my jaw were swollen and I had been concerned about the possability of head or neck cancer.

    Ok, the CT scan DID show that the lymph nodes were "superficially" and "marginally" enlarged (whatever that is supposed to mean).

    I called up the tech and asked him if these lymph nodes might be swollen because they contained cancer cells that had begun to spread (metastisize) and he said "no, they would have shown up differently if that were the case and we would have sent you to the hospital right away".

    What I am wanting to know is if you can actually tell the difference between normal lymph nodes and ones that contain cancer cells. Do they really look different on the CT scan films or was he just telling me what he thought I wanted to hear in order to ease my mind?.

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    Old 01-04-2004, 08:09 AM   #2
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    Re: Question of CT scan w/dye

    Well I guess me and you are in the same boat. Nobody replied to my post either. So I try to give you what I know. The CAT scan is a good diagnostic tool. Did they draw blood and do a CEA which is a tumor marker(just curious, it wont always be high with any kind of cancer). The only one and only true way to be 100% positive it is no cancer is to do a biopsy of the lymph node or maybe even the lymph(which is a the fluid that travels in the lymphatic system. Another way is to have a PET scan...whic shows "hot spots of cancer". I dont know if cancer of lymph nodes would show up on it. Im not a Dr. but know quite a bit on the clinical biology side of science since that is my profession, but not a Dr. Have they also ran a Mono-Spot on you? Also an EBV. Both of those conditions will swell up lymph nodes. So maybe that helps, just my 2 cents. Hope everything works out. My mother was just diagnosed with liver cancer and wrote a post to get my feelings out and to ask questionsbut like you no one responded. It is alright though.


    Old 01-08-2004, 04:43 PM   #3
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    Re: Question of CT scan w/dye

    Cheese man.... I completely understand your concern here. I'am currently undergoing some extensive testing myself for cancer. I had hodgeskins disease 20 years ago while in the Marines. The right side of my neck had swelled up quite abit over a year or so and I did not even know it until I was on my way to the hospital for being enemic(not a very good speller at times). Hodgeskins is cancer of the lympthnods. I was in stage 3B of 4. I found later that I was not expected to make it out of surgery when they removed the tumor out of my neck. I had an enlarge spleen a few other turmors. I went through 6monts of Chemotherapy. I currently have an "Active" mass in my rt lung. When I originally had an xray they noticed something that appeared to look like a mass. The radiologist stated that this needs to be looked at. A CT/scan was then ordered which showed several lympthnoids that were "slightly" enlarged and one mass in my lung. Following that a needle biopsy was ordered. This is a CT/biopsy. The scan works in conjuction with the biopsy to show the doctor exactly where the lymph or spot is he needs to get in order to pull the test material. A little painful caus they went through my back to get to my lung. But anyways.... this came back negative. During this time my insurance had approved a PET/SCAN this is an awesome test that will tell you if you anything that is "LIVE" in your system indicating cancer. The regular scan showed several other lymphnoids a little enlarged but could have or be from infection. The results of the PET/SCAN showed positive. What they do is inject a radio active material interveniously. Then you lay on a CAT/Scan table - A little differnt then usuall. The test itself is about 10 minutes. It is a very costly test but if you can get your insurance to do it then by all means. Sometimes they will not approve this without a tissue biopsy. Anyways, I have been fortunate to have these findings reviewed by a tumor board that my onogolist goes to. 25% say take it out and the other 75% say wait and just monitor it for 3 months. At first my doctor thought the surgeon could go in and remove it easily because it appeared it was between my upper and lower lobe of my lung. This is not the case after speaking with the surgeon. I will have to have my ribs "Cracked" and they will have to remove the complete lower lobe. The decesion was left to me. There concern is the negative biopsy vs. the PET/Scan. The pet shows positive and the biopsy does not. I have decided to wait and do another Ct/Scan in three months. If it has grown even 1 cm we will have to go ahead with the surgery.
    My question to is have you had any blood work done? You are going to want to have a blood count - White Blood cells vs Red blood. If you have more white then red then my friend you more then likely have the illness. I your blood count is normal, then I would keep a VERY close eye on it. One thing I can say and this is why my doctors are a little baffled and the reason for the wait is a cancer is not perfectly round as in my case. Normally a tumor is out of round. Have you expierienced any night sweats, fatigue, nose bleeds, weight loss. These are also indications of the possibility. My recomendation would be to discuss blood tests with your doctor and also the possibility of the PET/SCAN. This test is a somewhat new type of test but very reliable.
    I hope this helps you and whoever else may read this. Let me know if there is anything else I may be able to help with.
    God Bless You. Ron

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