??? CT Scan

Hi All

I have to go for a CT Scan…My oncologist mentioned an MRI Scan but when I said that sounded like caving and I freaked when i did that. So he’s sending me for a CT scan instead.

Could one of you please tell me what this involves.

I know it’s probably been done before but I couldn’t find it.


Marilyn x


For both a CT and MRI scan it involves you lying flat and still on a table which then moves through a tunnel like thing to take the scan. An MRI scan is a lot noisier than a CT.

Hope this helps

a CT scanner is more like a giant doughnut than a tunnel - and they only put in the bit they are looking at inside the doughnut. like a giant polo mint really. if he table is very uncomfortable do tell them and they can use foam ‘pillows’ to help

Thanks Quisie & Fiona

Do they inject you with anything - I have problems with my veins- and I’m going 2 days before my next Herceptin so I don’t want them messing about too much. Fore warned etc.

Marilyn X

hi Marilyn,
I think they usually do, they use something to contrast, or show up, the various organs. So do warn them abot your vein problems. My worst thing when I had my CT scan was holding my breath. They use a microphone to speak to you, and that was fine. Just, on the machine in front of me were two lights that came on - green for breathing normally and, when they wanted me to hold my breath - a red one. Each light had a smiley face on it - the red one had his cheeks puffed out and just looked so funny! The agony of staying very, very still when all you want to do is chuckle - that was the worst part! Oh, and the fluid they inject has a vaso dilator, expands the blood vessels, so some people get a kind of hot flush - quite weird, but no problem.

Thanks Quisie

Hi Marilyn,

When I had mine they did inject me with a ‘tracer’ liquid. Only took a few seconds though. I’m not sure if this is the norm. Please try not to worry, the whole process took less than 10 minutes.

Good luck, A xx

I had a CT scan after my bc surgeries and had a tracer injected, but I don’t recollect having any injections when I had an MRI scan some years ago. I am having an MRI this coming Friday for a strictured small intestine and dreading it, as the noise is awful and the top of the scanner only a couple of inches away from your face. Yaaargh! I wonder if they can put me to sleep? I am going to ask.
Take care,

I had an MRI a bit more than a month ago. They did inject something halfway through the procedure. For that they hooked me to an iv pump. They only wanted to do my breasts, so I was on my chest (more than on my tummy) with my boobs hanging into two cones. Because I was in this position I didn’t have to hold my breath. Mine was a series of scans and took 40 minutes. They gave me ear plugs for the noise, but had headphones if I would have preferred them. And my chest was sore for a few minutes after I got up again. I was fine while I was lying down, but it was sore when I got up.

It is very in-elegant climbing up and down off the contraption.

Just to mention that the contrast they inject makes you feel like you want to pee! Its the weirdest feeling. Much prefer bone scan.

why do people get a CT scan? Is it because they think it might spread? I don’t know what to say to my mum? She had her bone scan too so are they checking for secondary cancer? The doctor already said it hasn’t spread after her masectomy so why are they still checking?

Hi bigfootcan

I had a CT scan last week and that was solely for the purpose of doing the planning for my radiation. It was not for looking for anything. So dont worry this might be the case for your mum.

Madeline x

Hi Maisey,

Thanks so much that is so comforting to read, my mum has been worrying so much and i have too because i have been reading all about secondaries and i’m scared thats why they are checking. This site can be so hopeful yet sometimes i think maybe im better off being ignorant sometimes and not knowing the truth. I just hope im not getting to optimistic about everything, because then i will just be in for more of a disppointment.

Hi Bigfootchan

I’m going next week and wanted to know what it involved - hence the post.

I had a mastectomy with TRAM recon in August 06. The surgeon said that it could take 2 years for everything tho settle down. I still have a firm patch on the upper part of my breast and the oncoloogist is checking it out. I’ve already had an ultrasound and the consultant radiologist said that I was unusual as they don’t see many recons., and that maybe an MRI scan would be in order. I can’t do with confined spaces as I once went caving and that was enough, so I’m having a CT scan instead.

If the onc thinks there’s still a problem I’m going to ask to see surgeon again, but that means a referral as it’s a different hospital.

So you see there’s all sorts of reasons. I’m not too bothered about why I’m going it’s whether or not they need a vein and how long I have to lie still and flat out for.


Hi bigfootchan,

I was the same as Maisey. Routine at my hospital pre radiotherapy I believe.

Hi Marilyn,

I found it straightforward and quick and not at all claustrophobic.

Margaret x

Hi Marilyn

The CT scan involves lying on a couch without anything on from waist up. They put a cushion behind my head and one under my knees. You have to put your arms above your head and rest your wrists in stirrup type affairs. It does not hurt at all just slightly uncomfortable. Anyway they move you about a bit, and then when they are satisfied with your position they go off into the next room which has a window. The machine is like a large doughnut and it moves from above your head and moves down towards your chest so your head ends up the other side, so it is not claustrophic. It makes a bit of a noise not too bad and it is all over with in a couple of minutes. They then come back in and use felt tip pens to mark you, although that might have been first and finally they did 3 tattoo marks on me the size of a pin head, one under each arm and one right in the middle of my chest. They are quite acceptable. The only thing to be prepared for is in my case I had 4 people working on me, 3 women 1 man. But to be honest I have taken my top off that many times now I am thinking about using it as my party trick fo Christmas, scar thrown in as well!

So dont worry any of you who have to have this done.

Love Madeline

I have CT scans every 3 months as I’m on long term chemo and they need to know how well my tumours are shrinking.

I’m always canulated (I have a portacath but that can’t be used because the liquid is injected at quite a high speed which the portacath can’t cope with) and as Allie says it’s a weird feeling - a bit between feeling you’ve wet yourself and a warm feeling!!! You’re not in it as long as the MRI scan and I prefer it to the MRI machine as it’s not as noisy!

I’m not ‘marked up’ or anything like that, it’s purely to see how my cancer is doing and takes about 15 mins (depending on what part they are scanning you).