Detecting Lung Spots

Lung spots are  frequently detected from a chest x-ray, CT scan or PET-CT and often your doctor may determine that a tissue sample or biopsy is needed to make a definitive diagnosis.

Chest X-Ray

The chest x-ray is a radiology test where the chest is briefly exposed to radiation to take an image of the chest and its internal organs. A chest x-ray is used to define abnormalities of the lungs, including nodules (spots), pneumonia, asthma, bronchitis and cancer.

Lung CT Scan

A CT scan or computed tomography scan produces multiple images or pictures of the lungs that offer cross-sectional views of the area being studied. These images are far more detailed than a conventional chest x-ray and offer multiple uses. These include the ability to further examine abnormalities found on an x-ray, detect and evaluate the extent of lung nodules, assess whether tumors are responding to treatment and radiation therapy.

Lung PET Scan:

A PET scan (positron emission tomography) is an imaging test that can help reveal how tissue and organs are functioning. To show this chemical activity, a small amount of radioactive material must enter the body.

The precise type of radioactive material and its delivery method depends on which organ or tissue is being studied by the PET scan. The radioactive material may be injected into a vein, inhaled or swallowed.

More radioactive material accumulates in areas that have higher levels of chemical activity. This often corresponds to areas of disease and shows up as brighter spots on the PET scan. A PET scan is useful in evaluating a variety of conditions – including neurological problems, heart disease and cancer.

A PET scan is an effective way to examine the chemical activity in certain parts of the body, which may help detect abnormalities in those areas. PET scans are most often used in people who can have cancer, heart disease or brain disorders.

Cancer cells show up as brighter spots on PET scans because they have a higher metabolism rate than do normal cells.

PET scans must be interpreted carefully because noncancerous conditions can resemble cancer and many types of cancer do not appear on PET scans.


Lung spot detection - chest x-ray, Lung CT scan, Lung PET scan