A CT scan makes a detailed picture of the inside of the body. The picture is built up using x-rays taken by the CT scanner. The scan uses radiation, but this is very unlikely to harm you. It will not harm anyone you come into contact with.
You will be told how to prepare for the test. Before the test, you can usually eat and drink normally. Just before the test you may be asked to empty your bladder.
You will be given an injection of a dye. The dye travels through the bloodstream to the kidneys. The doctor looks at a screen to see the dye passing through the kidneys and ureters. This helps them see your bladder, ureters and kidneys more clearly.
The dye may make you feel hot all over for a few minutes. Some people have a stronger reaction to the dye. Tell your doctor if you have asthma or an iodine allergy, because you could have a stronger reaction to the injection.
You should also tell your doctor if you have kidney problems or diabetes, particularly if you take metformin. You will need a blood test before the scan to check how well your kidneys are working.
The scan is painless. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes. You may be in the department for about an hour.
You should be able to go home after the scan.
Below is a sample of the sources used in our bladder cancer information. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at email@example.com
Mottet N, Bellmunt J, Briers E, et al. Non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer (TaT1 and CIS). European Association of Urology (Internet), 2021. Available from uroweb.org/guideline/non-muscle-invasive-bladder-cancer (accessed September 2021).
Witjes JA, Bruins HM, Cathomas R, et al. Muscle-invasive and metastatic bladder cancer. European Association of Urology (Internet), 2021, Available from uroweb.org/guideline/bladder-cancer-muscle-invasive-and-metastatic (accessed September 2021).
This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Senior Medical Editor, Dr Ursula McGovern, Consultant Medical Oncologist.
Our cancer information has been awarded the PIF TICK. Created by the Patient Information Forum, this quality mark shows we meet PIF’s 10 criteria for trustworthy health information.
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