CT Scan Versus MRI

Last Modified: January 24, 2012

Question

What is the difference between at CT scan and MRI? How does my doctor decide what is best for monitoring my cancer?

Answer

Christine Hill-Kayser, MD, Radiation Oncologist, responds:

A ct scan is a test that uses xrays assembled in many directions to view a patient's body in three dimensions. An MRI also uses three dimensions but uses a magnet rather than radiation. MRI is often used to look at the brain, and is useful in lots of other sites, too. Your doctor will recommend one or both tests to evaluate your cancer, based on which test will allow him or her to learn the most about your specific situation.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire Interpreting Test Results transcript.

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