CSN Login
Members Online: 19

What do I expect with a PET scan?

meaganb's picture
meaganb
Posts: 226
Joined: May 2012

Hey friends! I had an appt with my oncologist today and they did a CT scan of my lungs which was clear. During the physical exam he palates a small spot under my jaw that is probably just scar tissue, but some of you may remember me posting that my husband and I are trying to conceive our second child. So, in light of that, my oncologist ordered a pregnancy test and if that comes back negative I will have a PET scan just to make sure that spot is scar tissue and not another tumor or a lymph node.

I have never had a PET before. What should I expect. The girl that scheduled me said that I shouldn't have any close contact especially young children for at least 24 hours afterwards. Is that true? I have an 18 month old so I'm not sure how that will work. Any pointers on the pre scan diet? Any other info you wish you would have known before you had one??

phrannie51's picture
phrannie51
Posts: 3622
Joined: Mar 2012

They give you an injection of a radioactive isotope into your vein...have you lay still for 45 minutes, then run you thru the CT scanner (same scanner as you were in before)...the only difference between the PET and CT, is the isotope.

You can't eat anything 8 hours before the scan, and the meal you do eat before the 8 hours starts they like to be high protein. Both times I've had a PET, I ate green beans and a hamburger pattie (for lack of imagination...LOL). No coffee, tea, or pop either....just water in those 8 hours. They tell you to keep away from babies for a few hours afterwards, because of the radioactive isotope. I'd ask them about that...if this is just being hyper careful.

p

blackswampboy's picture
blackswampboy
Posts: 341
Joined: Jul 2012

your cancer center must be more advanced than mine. ;-)
mine has an in-house CT scanner, but PET scans are done in a big truck that rolls up out back. the PET techs drive their truck all around northern ohio and southern michigan, delivering PET scan happiness...
happy holidays to you and yours!

phrannie51's picture
phrannie51
Posts: 3622
Joined: Mar 2012

I've heard this hospital is very high tech, even tho we're in NW Montana. There was a time tho, that kidney stones, scans etc....came in a truck...since that time tho...things around here started booming...(lots of people want to live here...kind of like Aspen or down by where Tim lives)...our little hospital grew from an old building in the center of town, to a huge complex that covers many square miles...

p

blackswampboy's picture
blackswampboy
Posts: 341
Joined: Jul 2012

yes, could be true about small children. they tell you that the radioactive glucose (or whatever it is) hangs around in your body for a few hours. but should be gone in 24 hrs., especially if you drink a lot of water. drink water!

usually they tell you not to eat anything or chew gum for six hrs. prior to scan, I believe. drinking water is fine.

don't be surprised by 'hot spots' showing up in scan. that happens to a lot of us, and it doesn't necessarily mean new tumour. PET scan is a powerful tool, but false positives do happen.

meaganb's picture
meaganb
Posts: 226
Joined: May 2012

Phrannie & Blackswampboy, the girl that scheduled me had me really freaked out about being radioactive. She made it sound like I didn't need to be around anyone, even my husband for 24 hours or so. Sounds like its not quite as big a deal. The way she talked, I thought I'd be "glowing" afterwards! Also, they told me not to eat any carbs or sugar for a full 24 hours beforehand. Phrannie, sounds like you got a better deal!;)

phrannie51's picture
phrannie51
Posts: 3622
Joined: Mar 2012

I hope I can copy and paste it here.....It worked!!! :)

Patient Preparation:********

NO vigorous exercise 24 hours prior to scan
NO repetitive muscle use (raking, shoveling, knitting, typing, etc)
TRY to stay away from starches and sugars and eat a high protein diet with Meats and Vegetables.

If you are Diabetic and take oral medication for Diabetes-do not take it the night before or the morning of your appointment-also no Insulin the day of the test.
If you take PREDNISONE please do not take it the day of your
PET scan.
NOTHING TO EAT 8 HOURS PRIOR BUT YOU MAY HAVE WATER BUT ONLY WATER (THE DAY OF YOUR APPOINTMENT).
YOU MAY HAVE ANY MEDICINES THE DAY OF YOUR APPOINTMENT WITH WATER
(EXCEPTION-ORAL MEDICATION FOR DIABETES).
If you have anything other than water, this includes mints, gum, etc, your test will need to be rescheduled (again medicines are ok).
Please check in at the HCNW admitting desk at the time listed above.
Dress comfortably, no metal or jewelry.
You can plan on the test taking approximately 2 hours from check in to finish.

POST PET/CT INSTRUCTIONS

You have received a PET/CT Scan.

You received an injection of a radiopharmaceutical for your exam of which should have no negative effect on your well being.

It is recommended that nursing mothers cease nursing for 20 hours post PET/CT Scan.

It is also recommended that for the next 20 hours you limit your time around children.

You may now resume normal activities. This includes eating, drinking, and the taking of
Prescribed medication.

hrowe
Posts: 38
Joined: Oct 2012

A nurse will check your blood sugar and then put in a catheter for the tracer dye. After inserting the dye the catheter is removed. You will be put in a recliner in a pitch black room for 50 min or so. The scan usually takes 40 min. Have them put some good music on! Only water before the scan. And no chewing gum either. Unless you were in a combo CT/PET machine before, you will see the PET has a longer tunnel.

I alternate between PET and CT at 6 month intervals.

hrowe
Posts: 38
Joined: Oct 2012

A nurse will check your blood sugar and then put in a catheter for the tracer dye. After inserting the dye the catheter is removed. You will be put in a recliner in a pitch black room for 50 min or so. The scan usually takes 40 min. Have them put some good music on! Only water before the scan. And no chewing gum either. Unless you were in a combo CT/PET machine before, you will see the PET has a longer tunnel.

I alternate between PET and CT at 6 month intervals. Sorry double post. Xoom is touchy!

CivilMatt's picture
CivilMatt
Posts: 2859
Joined: May 2012

meaganb,

If you do glow take a picture and post it to your expressions page.

It is no big deal for most of you, but I happily take a Lorazapam prior to my scan. That way it turns a definite anxiety attack into a tunnel adventure (probably with snoring).

The half life on the injection is quite short so your glow won’t last long. I did not know about distance restrictions, all this time I’ve been exposing others.

Like P51, I am eating meat and drinking water.

Best,

Matt

Skiffin16's picture
Skiffin16
Posts: 8057
Joined: Sep 2009

Like mentioned, it is similar to the CT machine..

Mine is different, but they upgraded it last year. It's actually like two CT machines butted together now, two round doughnuts.

They have me sit in a room, give me the injection and drink some orange flavored drink similar to Tang.... They give you about 30 - 40 minutes, watch a DVD, there's a restroom so you can relieve yourself prior to going to the tubes...

Then it's now only about 30 minutes or so..use to be near an hour with the old single tube.

I've never had problems with anxiety or anything. It is a tight close fit, so I could see it uncomfortable for those that are claustrophobic. But I can see through the back of the machine and that helps in sense of being closed in.

I'm sure you'll do fine.....

Best,
John

lts's picture
lts
Posts: 75
Joined: Nov 2012

P51 gave all the details they gave me. They did say stay away from close contact with other people and that if I was going to fly anywhere it might be a problem because they would think I was trying to smuggle a dirty nuc on board. The scan it self was like am MRI. The injection was the scaryiest, they came in the waiting room in a lead container and the tech who administered wore lead garb.
I will pray that it is clear, no hot spots.

Luke

meaganb's picture
meaganb
Posts: 226
Joined: May 2012

Thanks Luke! We are praying the same. I have a friend who is a radiologist & he said this is the best scan available to me right now. We can feel something. If its scar tissue it won't light up. If its another tumor it *should*. Now just have to be patient until Tues. thankfully I have an appt first thing Wed morning to get the results.

Subscribe with RSS
About Cancer Society

The content on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. Use of this online service is subject to the disclaimer and the terms and conditions.

Copyright 2000-2014 © Cancer Survivors Network