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How accurate is CT scan ?


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Hello everyone.

For some days now I have been reading your message boards and been inspired by the success stories and saddened when things havent gone well with treatments.

A week ago I had a chest xray which showed a mass in the superior aspect of the left hilum in my lung.

Today I had a CT scan which according to the consultant is showing a possible adenosquamous carcinoma of 5cm x 3cm and which he states is unoperable due to its location. He also found a 3cm lesion in my liver.

I am booked in for a bronchoscopy next week as they want to know excactly what they are dealing with.

He says there is a small perhaps 5% chance that it could be something else, due to the fact that the mass had areas of calcification in it.

I am now extremely scared.

I would appreciate advice from anyone who has had a similiar diagnosis regarding the result of the CT scan.

Basically I would like to know if a CT scan and the interpretation of the radiologist is always correct or does it need a biopsy to give a definitive diagnosis ?.

Any realistic glimmer of hope would be appreciated.

Kind regards and very best wishes to all ,


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X-rays, CT scans, PET Scans, etc., are not 100%. These are helpful tools in the medical world, but nothing is 100%. Yet they have come a long ways in the treatments for lung cancer. In my case they did the CT scans which showed them were the tumor was, etc., and then they did the biopsy.

In my case they thought I might have had sarcadosis, or lung cancer, or lymphoma. It turned out to be lung cancer.

Best of luck to you and I hope you'll keep us posted. What they are doing to you sounds like the norm.

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As others have said, no test is 100% accurate. As for the CT, it just looks at the "stuff" inside you and differentiates different tissue densities. from there it's up to the radiologist to try and intrepret what's normal and what's not. They typically use words like "lesion suspicious for cancer" rather than making a diagnosis (especially what cell type the cancer might be!!!)

Remember, the CT shows no indication of metabolic activity (as the PET does), so lesions on a CT are just that - areas of abnormal tissue densities, benign or otherwise.

As for the lesion on the liver - many folks have benign liver lesions/cysts. My mom also had a 3 cm "spot" on her liver, but it didn't light up on the PET scan.

THe biopsy will take actual cells from the lesion and give you much more information

GOod luck - I hope all turns out well for you


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The fact that there is calcification is a good thing. Non-calcified nodules are more likely malignant.

As everyone has said CT and even PET scans are not 100%

If it is malignant it could be early stage so there is could be a high change of cure.

Take care.

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