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CAT Scan - Definition for Breast Cancer Screening


Updated September 19, 2013

Definition: CAT stands for "computed axial tomography," and CT stands for "computed tomography".
A CAT or CT scan is a special type of X-ray image that is made by sending X-rays at different angles through a part of the body to a special set of X-ray detectors.
A computer uses the detectors to create an image that is a "slice" or sometimes a three-dimensional picture of that part of the body.
CAT and CT scans can reveal details that do not show up in an ordinary X-ray image.
Pronunciation: cat scan, see-tee scan
Also Known As: CT scan or CAT scan
Common Misspellings: catscan
Sometimes a CAT or CT scan can show enough detail to reveal that a suspicious feature on an ordinary X-ray is actually nothing to worry about. CAT and CT scans typically show a cross-section or "slice" of the body rather than a shadow image as in a standard X-ray.
An abdominal CAT scan might be done after treatment for breast cancer has been completed, to make sure that all the cancer has been affected.
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