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How long does it take to get results of your PET SCAN?

cureitall66's picture
Posts: 911
Joined: Aug 2012

Pet Scan is coming up for our loved one and we are seeing the doctor right after it's completed. Will we get the results immediately or is this something that takes days/weeks to get completed?

We just got the neck and base of tongue cancer diagnosis 2 weeks ago and are anxiously awaiting for results to assure us that the cancer has not affected any other areas. His ENT believes it is "Regional", but sure that is up to the next doctor to determine this.

Still so many unanswered questions. What stage is it, is it anywhere else, who do we meet with next, when, and what treatment(surgery, rad, chemo), and when does it start? They say to take one day at a time, and as a caregiver, that's what I'm trying to stay focused on and encourage our loved one to do the same...but boy is it tough. But, through it all I still feel an inner peace that all will be fine.

blackswampboy's picture
Posts: 341
Joined: Jul 2012

but in my case, the otherwise terrific hospital staff never bothered to call me with scan results. I didn't find out the good news until chemo started like two weeks later.

honestly, in a lot of ways it's harder on the caregiver than the patient...
everybody here is pulling for you both...you can do this!

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8264
Joined: Sep 2009

But you have to ask for them...

My facility will have a desk copy available upon request within 24 hours with the report and CD.

But the usual is about a week in conjunction with an office visit to go over them.

My first CT when determing the possibility of cancer, my ENT sent me down for the CT, He had me come right back...(same building). When I got back to his office, he was already reading them.

I wouldn't recommend getting them yourself the first time.... might be way more information than you wanna know about....some of which might not in reality be as bad as it might sound.

For instance, the PET I just had (3 years out)... I picked them up a few days befoe my office visit. Each time a different M writes the report.

He listed all kinds of things that hadn't been before...

Granular Calcification in the upper left lung, spline, slightly enlarged prostate....holy crap I'm thinking...

Well, he was just more thourough than others...

Calcification is from something like an infection several years back more than likely, prostate...normal with age.

Bottom line of what I could read and understand...

No significant changes since last years PET, no evidense of disease...


fisrpotpe's picture
Posts: 1349
Joined: Aug 2010

to me it's about how fast your doctor wants them. if the doctor stays on top of it like he would if it was their mother or father then we would and should have them the next day.

the norm is 5-10 days. the longer duration is because it includes the weekend. like if you had scan on wednesday, it could be the next friday before you get results.

ask for the results for mother plan. it is much faster :-)


VivianLee5689's picture
Posts: 546
Joined: Aug 2012

We were lucky because our doctor read them as he was having the scan and we had an appointment an hour after the scan. Knowing right away was great. The first PET scan we had was a weeks wait.

Terry Stephens's picture
Terry Stephens
Posts: 6
Joined: Sep 2012

The U of M where your going should have the scan to the doctor by your appointment time. The scan is in the morning and appointment in the afternoon, Mine was set up there the same way at the U of M and they try to do all they can in a one day visit. Post treatment is about 24hrs, During a diagnosis they are very quick Tech has come a long way!

cureitall66's picture
Posts: 911
Joined: Aug 2012

Thank you Terry. Since we're going to the same place, we're hopeful it will work that way for us that day too!

cureitall66's picture
Posts: 911
Joined: Aug 2012

Going to ask for the "Mother Plan"... : )

CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 3418
Joined: May 2012


My first post (3 month) PET scan, 24 hours, rad onc called me at home (good news travels fast)



Billie67's picture
Posts: 834
Joined: Jul 2012

With my first PET/CT prior to treatment I had it on a Wednesday and on Friday when I went for the making of my mask the rad onc read the results. Let's hope it's as fast this next time I go for my first one post treatment. I go in about 2 weeks. I hope yours is fast too.

Billie67's picture
Posts: 834
Joined: Jul 2012

With my first PET/CT prior to treatment I had it on a Wednesday and on Friday when I went for the making of my mask the rad onc read the results. Let's hope it's as fast this next time I go for my first one post treatment. I go in about 2 weeks. I hope yours is fast too.

cureitall66's picture
Posts: 911
Joined: Aug 2012

I will definitely keep you all posted. Next week can't get here fast enough..

Tim6003's picture
Posts: 1506
Joined: Nov 2011

I went to St. Lukes MSTI (Mountain States Tumor Institute) in Boise ..they scheduled the scan in the am and give me the results in the PM same day ...they do that each time I have a PET or CT ...I think that's great but I never asked for that ...they just do that I think...

One thing I love about my oncologist is he asked me this last visit (when I raised a question / concern to him) ..."well, what would make you feel more at ease"? ..I could have kissed the guy (but I held back ..lol) ....how nice to care enough to ask me what would make me feel better....

My MSTI team is great that way ...now my ENT is a bit more stand-offish (if that's a word) and a bit more formal in his delivery ..not as sensitive if you will...but he is very good at what he does ...and let's face it ...H&N patients (or any cancer patient) is already on edge ... :)


Darlene1969's picture
Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2015

Can someone help me out? I am getting a PET scan tomorrow at 1:30 because my CAT scan showed 2 Nogules on one of my lungs. Can someone please tell me how soon after it, can I get my results and who do I get the results from? I am a smoker and I have COPD. I am on Oxygen 24/7.

Barbaraek's picture
Posts: 224
Joined: Aug 2015

It will vary depending on if they have the staff there to "read" the scan and whether your doctor gets the results that day and sets aside time to go over the results with you. In our case it was read the same day...but usually I don't think more than 2 days elapse before doctors will go over results with you.

Good luck,


phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4266
Joined: Mar 2012

two days....however, once I had one on a Thursday before a 3 day holiday and it took 5 days....This last PET scan the Dr. called me that same night.....You get the results from the Dr. who ordered the scan.  I'd give the Dr. a call the next day (Friday)....it lets them know you want to know when they know.....that waiting is torturous.


hwt's picture
Posts: 2284
Joined: Jun 2012

Everytime i have had PET at Mayo, I have scan in a.m. and meet with doctor after lunch to get results.

Posts: 135
Joined: Sep 2011

if the doctor requests to have the results prior to the appitment he will get it, if not normally it takes couple of days.

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