A secondary breast cancer diagnosis often comes soon after a diagnosis for primary cancer. A cancer is considered metastatic (or secondary) when it spreads to a new part of the body. In the early days before or after diagnosis, one of the first scans you are likely to have is a CT Scan.
A CT Scan (or A computerised tomography scan) uses x-rays and a computer to create detailed images of the inside of the body. They take place in hospital and are carried out by a trained radiographer. They’re generally used to diagnose conditions, monitor conditions and inform a practitioner about the best treatment or test to offer.
When going for a CT Scan you’ll be asked to remove anything metal (jewellery etc) and you’ll be asked to lie down flat as the radiographer controls the scan from a separate room.
The scanner rotates around specific parts of your body as you move through it. The scan won’t be available immediately as the computer will need to process the images. Your doctor or oncologist will likely get in touch to speak to you about them.
CT scans are usually used either 3 monthly, 6 monthly, 9 monthly or sometimes annually to see what the cancer is doing and whether people have progressed, remained stable or responded to their treatments.
If patients are stable CT scans tend to be used less frequently but if people develop new symptoms a CT scan is always taken.