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Lymph nodes do show up on CT scans - and Radiologists can tell if they are larger than they should be. My enlarged lymph nodes were noted on my CT scans.
However, it is true that CT scans can only pick up objects unless they are of a certain size, although I'm not privvy to the specific limitations or size requirements. I think sometimes it can vary based on the Radiologist reading the scan and their experience.
Thanks....Femtech and Iowa for the info. My recent ct (chest, abdom/pelvic) noted scattered small periaortic lymph nodes present and I thought that to be odd, because if they were of normal size, why would they mention those lymph nodes in particular. Lymph nodes were never checked because Gyn did surgery, not qualified, so always a little nervous. Please share w/ me if you have any more info, thanks a bunch!!!
Femtech, I see you have had a recurrance, prayers that you are on the road to recovery.
My CT prior to staging surgery had the same notes about periaortic lymph nodes present. My gyn-onc wasn't concerned, and he and his team reviewed a DVD of my scan as well as the report. He did biopsy some of my nodes (standard for staging surg) and they were clear.
My doctor, from Stanford University, explained that CT scan can detect abnormalities in the range of 7mm minimum, and this is with best equipment. Therefore, although helpful in providing information, CT scan is not definitive in determining whether or not smaller abnormalities
exist. He also explained that during surgery, the human eye can see things
as small as a mm.
In my case, the CT scan did not show any signs of metastasis nor any indication of lymph node invasion. Final pathology from surgery confirmed this. During surgery, my dr did remove sampling of lymph nodes for more detailed pathology.
I mentioned the Radiologist skill and experience because it does play a factor.
The Radiologist who read my very first CT scan ever on this journey, before cancer was found, was completely worthless. So completely worthless that I actually attempted to fight my insurance company to pay his fee. He noted nothing. I had clearly 4 enlarged lymph nodes - he didn't even mention any lymph nodes. He did note a "prominent cervix", but it was almost as if it was an afterthought.
He was completely and absolutely worthless..I think the hospital janitor could have read the images better than he.
Anyway, my point is, if they mention lymph nodes its a great thing because it is one sign that they just may know what they are doing!
Thankfully none of my subsequent CT scans have been done at that same facility. And I will never patronize that hospital ever again.
CT scans and lymph nodes,
Radiologists are all different, some mention everything they see, others only bring up the things that are significant.
After my cancer, I was having them every 6 months.
On my third scan I had in a different place, the radiologist commented on a large lymph node in the rectal area, and that it remained unchanged from the scan 6 months previously.
No one had mentioned the one 6 months previously. I was panicked, my gyne/onc was not concerned, she did a very in depth exam in that area and did not feel anything. SHE looked at the CT scan, and said that she saw what they were talking about, but she was not concerned.
My chemo/onc ordered a PET scan and it did not show up.
At least on mine, I believe that the first radiologist did not mention what he did not find of concern. My gyne/onc also did not find them of concern.
Lymph nodes can become enlarged for a variety of reasons, and while they need to be followed, they are not always of concern.
My understanding is that enlarged lymph nodes that are cancerous have a specific appearance.