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PET vs. CT scan

susancherie
Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2009

I'm about to get my first scans done following treatment and am wondering why everyone talks about getting CT scans.... it is my understanding that a PET scan shows more detail than a CT scan which is consisent with that fact that my doc did a PET scan last spring after the CT scan showed abnormalities. I've seen some write that their insurance wouldn't pay for a PET scan only for a CT scan (which my doc also told me)... so i called my insurance compnay and asked, and was told they would pay for a PET scan as long as i had a diagnosis of cancer. So, I asked my doc to order a PET rather than a CT scan which he did. I had eight positive lymph nodes initially, so i'm really interested in checking the whole body. For those of you that are further down this road than i am, any thoughts??? thanx and huggs to all- susan

california_artist's picture
california_artist
Posts: 860
Joined: Jan 2009

http://www.radiology.uchicago.edu/PET/petvpetct.htm

With my understanding, I wouldn't choose just the PET over the CT.
Each has it's own best use.
PET/CT however is better than either one alone and as you will see from the article, less radiation is used for the CT part of the PET/CT than for a CT alone. Again, however, the PET/CT falls short in detecting metabolic activity if the source of the activity is less than one centimeter.

Try typing in PET in the search box at the top of the page for the threads that mention these two detection devises.

Best of luck to you,

Claudia

susancherie
Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2009

Hi Claudia! Thanks for the info... i wasn't aware of the PET/ct scan... is that the standard now? when people say they had a CT scan is it really a PET/ct scan??? thanx.

susancherie
Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2009

thanx for recommending the reading you did... I felt more knowledgable and found out that the pet scan that had been ordered was actually a pet/ct scan. Found out yesterday that all is good-- NORMAL PET!! I'm so excited that i don't have to do any more treatment-- at least for now-- time to get my energy back, let the swelling go down in my body... all is good again :). positive thots to all.

california_artist's picture
california_artist
Posts: 860
Joined: Jan 2009

Generally, when people say they are getting a CT, they are referring only to a CT scan. If they say they are getting a PET, it can mean either a PET or a PET/CT combo. Most PETs now contain a CT component. This helps place any suspicious findings anatomically on a body scan.

claudia

bonniesue
Posts: 126
Joined: Apr 2009

A radiologist friend says the PET/CT overlay is more sensitive than CT or Pet alone. Not all gyne oncs say this but the radiologist friend I believe is smart and trustworthy. Family doc ordered it! The night prior to the exam no sugars or carbs or sweet mints. Just protein and green veggies. Water is ok and 20 ounces the morning of. no exercising 24 hours prior to the test to cut down on false neg. I do not know if any of this helps but it is used more in other cancers and it does not pick up microscopic or small spread but I am just passing the info of a friend that would rec. this for his family.

deanna14
Posts: 738
Joined: Oct 2008

My doctor prefers to start with CT as studies are limited (due to relative newness of PET)in regards to PET. He did order a PET/CT after I completed chemo... I suppose for a baseline study. I did have 2 lymph nodes "light up," but after 2 biopsies and a repeat CT scan one had returned to normal size and the other was "disipating." In the future the plans are to only to PET scan to define abnormalities on CT.
Next CT December 3...

susancherie
Posts: 5
Joined: Oct 2009

What are the pros and cons to doing regular testing (pet or ct) versus relying on the CA125 and physical exam to detect returning cancer?? I'm not sure, but i don't think my doc is going to do repeat testing unless he sees abnormality in one of those two. Of course, i could push for testing if that is what most do. Eager to hear from you as to what your docs do. blessings to you. susan

deanna14
Posts: 738
Joined: Oct 2008

I had a PET/CT about a month out of chemo and since, I have had CT scans every 3 months. I don't know when or if this regime will change. I also had a couple of lymph nodes that we biopsied after the original PET the have since returned to normal.

shortmarge
Posts: 296
Joined: Nov 2008

I had a CT scan my first three months after treatment. I will only get them if I have symptoms...

Hugs

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

Before this recurrance mess, I was to be seen every 3 months by each of my 3 oncologists, but only have CT-scans every 6 months unless I had a symptom or my CA125 had a sharp spike. Now I think I will be scanned more often.

daisy366's picture
daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

My doc is conservative with radiation exposure and will not recommend any scans unless I have:
1. a spike in ca125 (which is done bi-monthly),
2. an abnormal pap/physical exam (quarterly) or
3. a change in frequency, duration, intensity that lasts a week or more.

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 1227
Joined: Nov 2009

I have had a CT scan every year since 2005. However recently I have had the following scans:
June 2008 - CT Scan
January 2009 - CT Scan
July 2009 - CT Scan PET/CT Scan
October 2009 - PET/CT Scan MRI

By the way, the scans were clear. After the MRI it was suggested that I get another PET/Scan! I said NO WAY.

With the PET scans they viewed from my sinuses (head) down to my thighs.

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