Do CT Scans Help or Hurt when Diagnosing Testicular Cancer? - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on June 19, 2014

Do CT Scans Help or Hurt when Diagnosing Testicular Cancer?

Computed tomography (CT) Scanner

CT scans provide a multi-dimensional view of an
area of concern in your body.

From eating too many vegetables to brushing our teeth the wrong way, it seems that anything can be a danger to our health nowadays.

But if you bring the topic of radiation to the table, you enter a “no-joke” territory. Considering the horrible health effects directly linked to over-exposure to radioactive waves, it’s easy to understand why it’s a major area of public concern. From x-rays to the popular household item, the microwave, many people question the safety of anything that emits a dose of radiation.

Computed tomography (CT) scans help doctors discover a variety of health issues, like cancer, are one type of x-ray procedure that’s raised concern. However, a recent study has found that the benefits of regular CT scans to diagnose testicular cancer outweigh possible consequences that might occur down the road.

Here’s how a CT scan works: It takes pictures of different angles of an area of concern in your body. A computer will then combine those images to create a multi-dimensional view of the scanned area.

CT scans not only help doctors discover the stage of cancer, but they can also show if the disease has spread to other areas of the body. They also help guide doctors during biopsy procedures, as they highlight problematic areas inside the body.

CT scans are regularly performed for men who have had surgery for testicular cancer to identify any possible recurrence of cancerous cells. Even though this type of preventive cancer screening has its obvious benefits, health risks become a concern when the body is subjected to a large dose of radiation over time.

According to the study, the risk of dying from radiation-related cancer later on in life was less than the risk of dying from testicular cancer. Since this disease is more common in men under 40, researchers believe the short-term effects of having a longer, cancer-free life outweigh possible consequences later down the road.

Many doctors fear that unnecessary CT scans are the true culprits, since there are little to no benefits when compared to the radiation exposure. Be sure to talk with your doctor about what type of scan or x-ray is best for you.

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