Question about PET scan

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Question about PET scan

by rachael on Wed Apr 11, 2012 04:19 PM

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I was wondering if anyone can help me figure out PET scan results. If there is any uptake at all, does that mean that there is cancer cells in that area? My cousin had a "decreased uptake" in her lungs on the most recent PET scan. However, the doctors told her that they do not feel there is any cancer in her lungs. Any thoughts?

RE: Question about PET scan

by Solutions on Thu Apr 12, 2012 05:41 PM

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Hello Rachael,

Your question is a little confusing.

First of I am very experienced with PET scans. I have never heard the word (uptake) used.

A PET scan alone means nothing.

What needs to be done is a combo scan...PET/CT scan.

And you will not know anything based on the first scan.

The PET scan portion will locate activity and the CT scan portion will indicate the size of the activity.

You do a combo NOW and in 90 days you do another combo and that will tell you if the potential tumor is growing. If it have a problem.

Best wishes


RE: Question about PET scan

by LabGuy on Fri Apr 13, 2012 08:45 AM

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I have had several PET/CT scans.  Prior to the scan you are given glucose with a radioactive tag.  Cells that metabolize quickly, like many cancer cells, absorb the tagged gucose and "light up" on the scan.  My oncologist told me, however, that not 100% of cancers "light up".  Some normal cells in the body metabolize glucose quickly and can "light up", so they interpret the scans with that in mind.  The CT portion of the scan is tied to PET portion to better show the anatomy and locations clearly.   I'm assuming that "decreased uptake" means no tagged glucose was absorbed by her lung cells.

RE: Question about PET scan

by Solutions on Fri Apr 13, 2012 03:53 PM

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Hello LabGuy

Great explanation. My wife Karen had many PET/CT scans at UCSF Medical Center. I forgot to mention the Glucose with Radioactive tag and the 45 to an hour waiting period before actually going in for the scan.

Again, thank you for that information.

Leonard from Alamo California

RE: Question about PET scan

by rachael on Fri Apr 13, 2012 04:11 PM

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Maybe someone can explain this to me: Left uptake is less confluent and overall decreased in intensity. Current max SUV is 7-8. Previously was 12-13. Right love previous SUV was 6-7. Currently 3-4. No other foci of abnormal F-18 uptake No aortic aneurysm No pulmonary nodules Impression: positive response to therapy without PET/CT evidence of no dual or distant mets. I know my cousin has 3 rumors in her liver. The Cancer started in the bile duct. It has been staged as a 4. Is there cancer in her lungs? I'm so worried for her. I love her so much. I want to understand everything about her cancer And prognosis.

RE: Question about PET scan

by Solutions on Fri Apr 13, 2012 04:22 PM

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Hey Rachael,

I don't know if you are trying to impress us folks with all your tech information. I am sure you are concerned about your cousin.

It sounds like the primary cancer was the Bile Duct cander and it may or may not have spread to her lungs.

Allow me to give you a hint on what to do....Go with her to the next Oncologist appointment and ask her doctor what you are asking us. 

Your question, "is there cancer in her lungs" that's what you are asking us. Who do you think we are?

Ask her doctor...

Take Care,

Leonard from Alamo, Calicornia

RE: Question about PET scan

by jagerwin on Mon Apr 16, 2012 06:55 PM

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hi Rachael,

Sorry to read about your cousin's condition; as I understand it, bile duct cancer is a rather rare one - my fiance's mother had that about 7 years ago and they told us then that it was very rare.

The information you have provided here is clearly the medical diagnosis. But not all of us get to see this info nor learn to read it, and for good reason, we're the patients, not the doctors. So, to be really really sure of things, I agree you need to accompany your cousin on her next oncology visit, if you can.  If not (e.g. you live in another city) you may be able to schedule a phone consult with an oncology assistant; or a local oncologist, to interpret this for you. It's pretty technical stuff. I can tell you a little bit, just from personal experience, but I'm no doctor either, so I cannot interpret. For one, as mentioned already, two scans are done. The CT scan is "anatomical" and so along with checking the lungs, the radiologist interpreting the scan was able  to look at the heart region and determine there is no bulging of the aorta (aneurysm), likely the ascending aorta, the main artery "leaving" the heart. I've had that, twice (and two surgeries to correct), so I'm familiar with that one. The "mets" refers to metastasis. That part looks "good" to me,  as do the lower values in what appears to be a follow up series of scans, but again, I/we are not doctors here. You state that the doctors believe she does not have lung cancer. I generally agree with my doctors but if I don't, I just go get a second opinion. So, if you are unsure about all of this, and/or your cousin's doctors, I would suggest you go ahead and do just that. Most doctors do not mind if a patient or caregiver gets a second opinion; indeed, most of them expect it.

Are you able to talk to your cousin about this? Is SHE getting the information she feels she needs?

Stage 4 is fairly serious, no matter what type of cancer you have. You can read a lot about these cancers on the internet of course, and it sounds like your cousin is dealing with at least two. But, I would still urge you to find an oncologist/assistant to speak with about all of this.

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