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PET Scan on Monday - Should we go or NOT go? Need advice

Posts: 13
Joined: Feb 2011

Hi everyone,

As I posted here before, my dad has Small cell lung cancer. Two weeks ago, my father was in the hospital when they did an angiogram, and he also caught pneumonia. While he was there, they did CT Scans of his body and the scans didn't show any sign of cancer. Last week we visited the oncologist, and the oncologist said that the CT scans were clear, but he wants to do a PET Scan. My dad's last PET Scan was in December.

Now, I need your advice. Should we go to this PET Scan on Monday? The reason that I don't want him to go is this:

1.They did CT scans a few weeks go, So why put him through a PET Scan when the CT Scans were okay? he is going to have many, many PET Scans in upcoming months, why him put him through radiation exposure right now.

2.I believe a PET Scan is when you have to lie there for half an hour, correct? My dad is trying to recover from pneumonia, so it's going to be very difficult for him to lie on a cold flat surface for that long when he isn't able to breathe well.

3.My dad's appetite is not good at all already. And for a PET scan, don't you have to drink a "dye" beforehand, and not eat anything for half a day?? I don't know what to do. My dad is so weak, it's taking him so long to recover from pneumonia - he isn't able to walk. I don't want him to be tortured. I don't know what to do. What do you guys think? Should we hold off on the Pet Scan until my dad gets a little better and is able to walk?

z's picture
Posts: 1414
Joined: May 2009

Hello, Thats a hard question. It seems to me if the cat scans are clear why put him through the pet. Did he have the ct scans with contrast, as they will show a great deal. They have used a drink once for a pet I had, and then an injection for the other. And yes you do have to fast. I think I would talk to the dr and see what the point of the pet is and if the pet is required to rule out anything else going on. I wish you and your father well. Lori

Posts: 13
Joined: Feb 2011

Lori, thank you so much for responding.

My dad was having some pains in his upper thigh, but the back part. So a little under your butt, which is the buttuck, I guess? The back of the upper thigh. My dad says that sometimes the pain is there, and sometimes isn't. Maybe the pain in his back thigh is because he was in bed for so long. he was in bed for a week and a half! So when we told the oncologist about the pain in his leg he issued a pet Scan. But maybe the pain doesn't have anything to do with cancer, but with the fact that he was in bed for so long, not using his legs?

Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

If it is muscle pain, then he needs rehab. If it is a cancer met, he will need what the oncologist orders. But if he is feeling poorly right now, there should be no rush to have scans. I wouldn't ignore the fact that it could be cancer. But cancer will still be there in two weeks and it won't grow that fast in a month. Tell the doctor you have to wait a week or two and reschedule. But get the pneumonia treated promptly. Also tell the primary doctor that you are concerned that he was in bed for so long and see if there is a pain reliever and some stretches he could do in case it is just from being in bed.

Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

The CAT scan will only tell if there are problems in the thoracic area. The PET scan is a full body scan that lights up areas where there may be cancer mets. Sometimes cancer travels through the lymph nodes and sets up camp in bone tissue. Oncologists are cancer oriented and think bone met if you report pain there.

By the way, my doctors have stopped doing the CAT scans with contrast unless surgery is planned. They said the contrast solution is tough on the kidneys and they can see what they need to with the regular CAT scan. It wasn't that my kidneys were having problems. It was a change in what they consider safe practice. I worry that they don't see as much, but I guess I need my kidneys too...

hope0310's picture
Posts: 324
Joined: May 2010

CAT and PET are completely different diagnostic tools. In most cases, in my opinion, the PET is a much better scan.

But that is just me, I am a "want to know and want to know now" type of person.

catcon49's picture
Posts: 398
Joined: Aug 2008

A CAT scan can also be a whole body scan. It just doesn't penetrate the brain area. I would speak with the dr who order the PET scan to find out what exactly he is looking for. PET scan they inject substance into you then you can't move for 45 minutes. But I sat in a recliner with a blanket on. Then the actual scan depending on what the doctor ordered. Hope this helps. Good luck

Posts: 11
Joined: Oct 2009

Hi jas, I got to agree with hope and cat. The pet scan is much better at detecting very small cancers that have traveled. and like cat said you just sit in a dark room for 45 min after they inject the radio active stuff. I seem to remember the scan itself as about ten or fifteen minutes. Hope it's not to hard on him if you decide to go. take care, good luck.
oops! Just noticed date did you go ?

Posts: 13
Joined: Feb 2011

We did end up going to the PET Scan for my dad.

I want to thank everybody here that responded to this post. I read every single post here multiple times. Now we wait for the results. Please pray that the results of the PET Scan are good. Please let let this thigh pain be some kind of muscle problem, or skin problem - anything but cancer.

Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2011

I was diagnosed with lung cancer today. The importance of following PMD reccomendations is extremely important. I had a Cat scan 2weeks ago and a Pet/CT scan on Monday. It was found that the cancer grew from 4cm to 8 cm in two weeks which places me in stage 3. Follow all doctor reccomendations and be aggressive with treatment.My prayers are with you.

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