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PET-CT scan results. What they mean?!?!?!

Posts: 2
Joined: May 2012

Hi My name is Sheila and I just had a PET test done and I got the sheet with the results but I don't understand what it means. Does it mean I have cancer or not?! My dr is out of town until next week and I cna't wait. I need to know but have no insurance and she's hte only one htat will see me on payments. So, if any of you know what any of this means, let me know. I will type the whole page that I got from the PET scan results.

Examination: PET scan skull base to midthigh
History: Pulmonary nodule
Comparison: Images of the lung basaes from CT examination of the abdomen and pelvis April 7, 2012. No other prior dedicated chest CT are available for comparison.

Procedure: Fasting blood glucose level was 98 mg/dl. Following IV administration of 13.3mCi of F-18 FDG, and after appropriate uptake phase, emission scan with corresponding CT anatomic localization images were obtained from the skull base to proximal thighs. Images obtained on a GE PET/CT scanner and reconstruction in fused axial, coronal and sagittal planes and 3-D volume rendering projection.


Chest: Multiple mild to moderately hypermetabolic mediastinal and hilar lymph nodes are present. Maximal SUV azygoesophageal recess lymph node, 5.8.

On delayed images, there is borderline hypermetabolism of the right lower lobe pulmonary nodule, maximal SUV 2.5. There has been no detrimental interval change in size of this nodule on transmission CT images were measures 18mm maximal transverse dimension. The tiny left lower lobe pulmonary nodule is too small the visualized on this imaging modality. This tiny nodule is also unchanged on transmission CT images.

Abdomen and pelvis: No suspicious hypermetabolic mass lesions are identified. Physiologic uptake is identified.

1. Nonspecific mediastinal and bilateral hilar lymphadenopathy. Diagnostic considerations include granulomatous disease, sarcoidosis, ncoplasm not excluded.
2. Borderline hypermetabolism within the right lower lobe pulmonary nodule. PET findings are indeterminate. Reevaluation with followup CT examinations to confirm longer term stability is recommended.

Ok that's all. Any ideas, suggestions, anwers will be greatly appreciated!!

I am only 29 years old, smoker, weight is 231 lbs. Please help me if you can. Thanks!

Ex_Rock_n_Roller's picture
Posts: 281
Joined: Mar 2011

... and I'm not one and do not play one on TV, but here goes. Bear in mind that I have read very few of these reports, including not even my own, but I'm not too bad at science-speak. Also bear in mind that a PET scan is looking for excessively high metabolism (glucose uptake) in a cell, because that's what cancer does. Most types of normal body cells use glucose at a lower rate, so when they see a high rate ("lights up" on the scan), it's suspicious.

Drop right to "Impression;" it basically restates "Findings" in more general terms. Everything above that is background.

(1) You have some abnormally high activity in some mediastinal and hilar lymph nodes. They offer up a couple possible explanations ("diagnostic considerations"); "neoplasm not excluded" means they can't rule out cancer.
(2) You have borderline activity in the pulmonary nodule. They're recommending followup scans to see if it's stable over time.

I'd say their next move will probably be to biopsy that lymph node with the 5.8 reading (the highest they found), and go from there. Finding #2 amounts to watchful waiting, and really is not so bad without further evidence.

Try not to jump to any conclusions before you get that biopsy result. You could very well have something non-cancerous cancer going on (this has happened to other people on this site), and no matter what, it will be best to get the jump on it ASAP.

All the best to you!

PBJ Austin
Posts: 347
Joined: Mar 2009

I am one of those people whose PET scan indicated cancer but it was not. The mass in my lung was a benign but very serious infection. It was my understanding that any abnormal growth will light up a PET scan, so that's why my lung lit up. I had the UR lobectomy because the mass destroyed the lobe and caused it to adhere to my chest wall. I agree with the Rocker, wait for biopsy results before believing it's cancer.

Wishing you the very best for good results.

Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

It isn't cancer until they find it under a microscope. The diagnostic considerations for the doctor suggest a couple of possibilities that the doctor will want to followup. It is fairly common to wait 3 months and then do another CAT scan to see if nodules grow. If they do, a biopsy is usually done if the patient is well enough for surgery. Even if they biopsy things, don't panic! Sometimes the surgeon goes in expecting cancer and finds out it is something else. My surgeon told me of a case where he was sure he was going to find cancer but found TB which is curable with meds these days the week before he operated on me. He was sure I had stage 4 breast cancer (previous history) but it turned out I had stage 1 lung cancer instead. So all I needed was more surgery, not chemo and the works. Go figure. The moral is don't panic!

At the same time,consider getting in the best shape you possibly can manage in whatever time you have to wait before biopsy and CAT scan. Nicotine plays havoc with healing should you need surgery. . . Good luck!

Posts: 107
Joined: Feb 2007

The last part says it all -- PET findings are indeterminate.
Sounds like they found a couple things, don't know what they are or why they are there. Recommending followup later to see if any change.

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