Thoracic Oncology at Boston Medical Center

Center for Thoracic Oncology

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Diseases & Conditions

Pulmonary Metastasis - Diagnostic Procedures

How are Pulmonary Metastases Diagnosed?

We usually detect pulmonary metastases via one of the following tests:

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan

Doctors order CT scans when they want to see a 2-dimensional image of your body, including a view of the lymph nodes. If contrast dye is used to improve the computer image, you may need to avoid eating or drinking for 4 to 6 hours before the test. Be sure to tell your provider prior to the test if you have any allergies or if you have kidney problems.

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Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan

A PET scan is used to detect cellular reactions to sugar. Abnormal cells tend to react and "light up" on the scan, thus helping physicians diagnose a variety of conditions. For the PET scan, a harmless chemical, called a radiotracer, is injected into your blood stream. Once it has had time to move through your body, you will lie on a table while a scanner follows the radiotracer and sends three-dimensional images to a computer screen. Patients are generally asked to wear comfortable clothing and refrain from eating for 4 hours before the scan. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Patients with diabetes should discuss diet guidelines with their physician for the hours leading up to the scan.

We may then take a biopsy (tissue sample) to confirm the presence of cancerous cells.

Learn how pulmonary metastasis may be treated

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Call: 617.638.5600
Fax: 617.638.7382


Boston Medical Center
Center for Thoracic Oncology
Moakley Building
830 Harrison Avenue, 3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02118

Refer a Patient

Call: 617.638.5600
Fax: 617.638.7382

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88 East Newton Street,
Robinson B-402
Boston, MA 02118
Call: 617.638.5600
Fax: 617.638.7382

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