Computed Tomography (CT)

Key Points


  • Computed tomography (CT) is a diagnostic procedure that uses special x-ray equipment to obtain cross-sectional pictures of the body.
  • In cancer, CT is used to detect a tumor, provide information about the extent of the disease, help plan treatment, and determine whether the cancer is responding to treatment.
  • A CT scan uses slightly more radiation than a chest x-ray, but the benefits generally outweigh the risks.


  • A total body CT scan, which creates images of nearly the entire body, has not been shown to have any value as a screening tool.


Source: National Cancer Institute