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Thread: Ultrasound or CT scan? Which one is better?

  1. #1

    Ultrasound or CT scan? Which one is better?

    I posted about a week ago saying that I had a lump in my neck. I had a doctor's appointment on Monday and he told me that because he could sort of chase the lump around and it didn't feel fixed and it didn't feel terribly big, he wasn't terribly worried about it. He felt for swollen lymph nodes in my groin and armpits but said he didn't feel any.

    He told me that I had two options; an ultrasound right away (he said he gave me this option because he could tell I was really worried) or try antibiotics for 10 days and see if that shrinks it. If not, I can come back in 10 days for the ultrasound. I took the antibiotic route but I'm only on the first day so I'm not sure if they're helping yet.

    My question is, he kept mentioning ultrasounds...but nothing about a CT scan. I didn't really think to ask when I was there but I thought that the best thing to do for a swollen lymph node/lump was to do a CT scan, not an ultrasound. What are your opinions on this matter?

    Did you have an ultrasound and then a CT scan or just a CT scan? I'm pretty confused but I have no insurance and so if I have to go back, I don't want to pay for something that isn't really a good indicator test. I'd rather pay for a CT scan if that's the better way to go.

    Please help if you have any knowledge on this subject.

  2. #2
    When I was in the process of being diagnosed, I first had an ultrasound, then an MRI, then finally a CT scan. I believe that an ultrasound is usually a common first step in the process of figuring out what's going on, so normally I'd say listen to your doctor. That being said, I don't live in the States and didn't have the problem with insurance, so I can understand why you would want to go directly to a CT scan for perhaps more definitive results. I think that the ultrasound should be a good indicator, but then again I am not a doctor and you should probably get some other opinions.

    Ct scans are very good when you're looking for enlarged lymph nodes, but keep in mind that it is not a definitive test for whether it's a sign of cancer - lymph nodes can be enlarged for a variety of reasons, such as a recent cold or injury. PET scans are the ones that can detect cancerous cells.

    Once again, I am young and not a professional, so you should definitely go with what you (or a doctor) think is best. This is just based off of my own experience.

    I wish you well and hope that everything turns out okay!
    17 year old female.
    Stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma Survivor. Diagnosed in 2007 at age 14. Relapsed in 2008 at age 16. Underwent stem cell transplant. Now in remission at age 17.

  3. #3
    Administrator Top User brainman's Avatar
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    Western, like RaeLee hinted at, I would do both in the order he did. If the ultrasound shows a solid mass (rather than a cyst or something else), your doctor will want a MRI anyhow. As for which is best, there really isn't a way to judge that since they to not do the same thing.
    Jim
    Long-term cancer survivor
    1992 Astrocytoma grade 2, left motor strip
    2005 Recurrence this time said to be an Oligodendroglioma grade 3, same location.
    http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=2405
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    My Story Part 2: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?p=7350
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  4. #4
    Administrator Top User ChemoMan's Avatar
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    Hi western

    neither the Ct or ultrasound will be conclusive....only a biopsy can confirm the presence of Lymphoma. The watch and wait with antibiotics is the way to go at this point. Relax because the most likely cause of this is infection.

    If you feel like it post with the results of the 10 day trial with the antibiotics.

    Good luck
    Age 58
    Diffuse Large B cell Lymphoma
    Stage 2a
    Finished six cycles of R chop 21 26th May 2008
    Officially in remission 9th July 2008
    Remission reconfirmed 1st October 2008
    Remission reconfirmed 17th June 2009
    Remission reconfirmed 7th June 2010
    Remission reconfirmed 6th July 2011
    NED on the 2/01/2013
    No more scheduled visits to the Prof
    http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=9620

    RULE NUMBER 1.....Don't Panic
    RULE NUMBER 2..... Don't forget rule Number 1

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