Topic: Imaging - simplified explanation
C-T (CAT) Scans - computed or computerized tomography.
Can show precise location of tumor, defined shape, solid or hollow; provides clues to a cancerous tumor but not as concrete as biopsy.
Not reliable in identifying tumors less than 2 cm in size.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) Scans - In many tissues, the image and detail are clearer than those with an MRI than a CT scan.
For some tissues, MRI image is less clear than CT. Difficult to distinguish between Inflammation and scar tissue.
PET (Positron Emission Tomography) Scans - picks up cancer activity at a very small level.
Image not as clear as CT and MRI, inflammation can obscure other activities on scan and localizing exact location of tumor. Best suited for higher grade tumors, metastasis.
Some insurance carriers won't cover cost of PET Scan.
CAT/PET Combo Scans - wave of the future, allows for anatomical detail of the CT and detection of small nodules of cancer cells by PET. Not yet widely available in many hospitals.
Insurance coverage: don't know.