Which Cancers Can a Pelvic CT Scan Detect?

January 16, 2019 – 3 min read

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A pelvic CT scan can be used to detect several types of cancer. Are you preparing to have this procedure soon? Learn more about it, below.


How Does a Pelvic CT Scan Detect Cancers?

A pelvic CT scan works by using computed tomography to create images of the inside of your body. In other words, this technology combines X-rays and computers to create more detailed images than you can get with an X-ray on its own. For the process, you sit in a machine while a narrow X-ray beam circles around one part of your body. In this case, the images are of your pelvis, and the machine takes thin slices of images which are stacked on top of each other to create compelling and useful images.


Do CT Pelvic Scans Detect Cancer?

While pelvic CT scans can detect a variety of issues, they can be especially useful for detecting cancer. In particular, doctors can use this technology to look for tumors in this part of your body, but they can also use these scans to monitor the growth of tumors, to see how treatments are working, and to guide treatments.


What Type of Cancer Can You See With Pelvic CT Scans?

Pelvic CT scans can detect a range of cancers that are focused on that area of your body, but depending on the type of cancer, your doctor may suggest other images as well. Here is a look at some of the most common types of cancer and an overview of the scanning process:

  • Colorectal Cancer: Also called colon cancer, this cancer can be detected with a pelvic CT scan, but you may also need a scan around your chest and abdomen to see if the cancer has spread.
  • Rectal Cancer: You can also detect this gastrointestinal cancer with pelvic imaging tests.
  • Bladder Cancer: Sometimes, you may have a CT scan to detect bladder cancer, especially in women, but often, doctors do a digital rectal exam (DRE). Then, they may use imaging tests to track the spread of the cancer, as well as biopsies and other tests.
  • Cervical Cancer: To assess cervical cancer, doctors usually start with a colposcopy. Then, they may do a cervical biopsy. Typically, they order a pelvic CT scan if the tumor is large or when they are worried about the cancer spreading.
  • Prostate Cancer: If your doctor believes that your prostate cancer is in its early stages, they may do a biopsy and start treatment. However, when they are worried about the cancer spreading, they tend to order CT scans.
  • Testicular Cancer: Pelvic CT scans can be very useful for detecting testicular cancer, figuring out what stage the cancer is in, and seeing if the cancer has spread.
  • Ovarian Cancer: With a pelvic CT scan, you can see if the ovarian cancer is affecting your kidney or bladder, check if the cancer has spread to your liver or other organs, and look for enlarged lymph nodes.


To find out the cost of your pelvic CT scan, use our calculator. Or, find your nearest American Health Imaging location to schedule an appointment.