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Dazed and confused??

Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2007

No, I am not stoned just confused about a ct scan versus a pet scan. I get my first ct scan after chemo on March 11th but have had some educated people ask me why not a pet scan since it shows more?? I was not smart enough when my onc scheduled this to know to ask questions. Can someone enlighten me? Thanks for the reply.

Still praying for all,

Posts: 109
Joined: Dec 2007

One doesn't really show "more" then the other.
The show different things.

A ct scan will show a mass that is there (including scar tissue and calcium deposits)
A pet scan will show anything that is "active" - as in "growing" including recovering tissue.

I guess after the tumor has been 100% identified as being cancerous your oncologist just needs to see how much smaller the mass got after the chemo.

Limey's picture
Posts: 447
Joined: Mar 2004

my doctor always mentions a ct scan but i always get a combo ctpet scan. The way I can tell is if i get a CT scan, it only takes minuites. whereas a ctpet takes two hours.

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Depending on your insurance company, it may or may not 'allow' a PET scan at this stage. CT scans are much less expensive. (I know, I know, shouldn't work that way...but it does...).

Interesting, I am 3 years in May from my resection (5/2005). Haven't had a PET since Jan, 2005...my onc feels that I have had enough radiation to last my entire life, so she stays as minimal as she can. I HAVE had CT's and MRI's tho...but only when there is a possibility of something...

Hugs, Kathi

Posts: 84
Joined: Dec 2007

I have had only one pet scan, but regular CT scans. The reasoning being that the pet helps the dr know which masses revealed in a CT scan are active. As mentioned by others, CT scans reveal masses, which may or may not be cancer. The pet uses a radioactive isotope attached to a sugar molecule. Cancer gobbles up sugar, so the isotope is taken into the active cancer and makes it "glow" on the film.

vinny3's picture
Posts: 933
Joined: Jun 2006

The PET scan is an enhancement of the CT scan. It is to see if masses/lumps etc that show up on the CT will "light up" ( be more active metabolically which is a sign of faster metabolizing cells i.e. cancer, inflammation, healing tissue). The CT scan is cheaper so will be used most commonly for the routine followups.


Posts: 1048
Joined: Jan 2007

Robin, not much I can add, but I can tell you that a PET differentiated between "cancer cells and scar tissue for my hubby so far". Gool luck and God bless.

renee2u's picture
Posts: 27
Joined: Feb 2008

Yes... the PET scans shows cancer activity.. the CT scans show mass...

I like PET scans much better... they don't reactivate my diarrhea.. LOL!

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