Has anyone ever had a false positive on a pet scan?

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My husband will be six years from stage 3 rectal cancer diagnosis in Jan. He has always had hot spots in the rectal area on his pet due to inflamation biopsies have always been negative.
Last week his pet scan was all clear except this area again but less uptake but also a small area next to the rectum showing a lymph node with some uptake. This node showed up a year ago on his pet but slightly elevated uptake now. His surgeon does not think its cancer but to be safe has ordered an ultrasound to find the node and biospy it. I'm really worried but trying to stay positive. Has anyone ever had a false positive pet?

Val

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  • John23
    John23 Member Posts: 2,122 Member
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    Cats and dogs and other Pets
    False positives are said to be common with PT scans. The test was
    originally designed to help identify a "lump" without having to surgically
    open the area to the "lump". Now, they seem to use it for some sort
    of hunting expedition, pointing out every spot to the patient that lights
    up, explaining how you're going to die unless you do....blah, blah...

    With your husband's case, why doesn't the surgeon simply remove
    the nodule? A biop is fine, if it's in a critical area and the surgery
    dangerous... but a node?

    I'm nearly six years post-op myself, and I can appreciate the amount
    of worry and concern. We seem to be always waiting for that other
    shoe to drop, aren't we......

    Oh well..... could be worse.... they could legislate a tax for having lumps...


    Be well; think well!

    John
  • annalexandria
    annalexandria Member Posts: 2,571 Member
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    I have had several...
    false positives with the PET. I had three small spots in loops of bowel that looked suspicious, although as the SUVs were not very high, the decision was made to just keep an eye on them. All three spots were unchanging for about a year, and then disappeared completely on the last scan I had. I also had a pre-surgery PET last fall that made things look so bad that the surgeon felt it would just be palliative surgery, rather than curative, but once he got in and looked around, things were a lot better in reality than they had looked on the PET scan. I think from my experience and what I've read that false positives are relatively common with the PET, just as CT scans can give more false negatives. Ideally, we'd get both, for the most possible information. Hope everything goes well for your husband-Ann
  • Buckwirth
    Buckwirth Member Posts: 1,258 Member
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    John23 said:

    Cats and dogs and other Pets
    False positives are said to be common with PT scans. The test was
    originally designed to help identify a "lump" without having to surgically
    open the area to the "lump". Now, they seem to use it for some sort
    of hunting expedition, pointing out every spot to the patient that lights
    up, explaining how you're going to die unless you do....blah, blah...

    With your husband's case, why doesn't the surgeon simply remove
    the nodule? A biop is fine, if it's in a critical area and the surgery
    dangerous... but a node?

    I'm nearly six years post-op myself, and I can appreciate the amount
    of worry and concern. We seem to be always waiting for that other
    shoe to drop, aren't we......

    Oh well..... could be worse.... they could legislate a tax for having lumps...


    Be well; think well!

    John

    What are you talking about?
    "Now, they seem to use it for some sort of hunting expedition, pointing out every spot to the patient that lights up, explaining how you're going to die unless you do....blah, blah..." 

    There was nothing in the OP that referenced dying, or even a Do This or Else attitude from the doctors. Just a questionable spot that should be further investigated. A needle biopsy is fairly non-invasive, and is a good way to determine exactly whether a spot is cancer or something benign. For further reading, here is a link to an article about false positives in mammograms (for the record, I have had both a mammogram, and a needle biopsy):

    The Picture Problem

    For the record, the PET scan is not used to identify a lump, rather it identifies suspicious activity (a CT or MRI is better at finding lumps) via the uptake activity of the radioactive glucose. Anything with high metabolic activity will light up, including infection which is very possible in a lymph node. Benign scar tissue, cysts, tumors, etc will not show unusual metabolic activity, and can (under normal circumstances) be left alone, avoiding unnecessary surgery or other therapies with damaging side effects.
  • pepebcn
    pepebcn Member Posts: 6,331 Member
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    I have had several...
    false positives with the PET. I had three small spots in loops of bowel that looked suspicious, although as the SUVs were not very high, the decision was made to just keep an eye on them. All three spots were unchanging for about a year, and then disappeared completely on the last scan I had. I also had a pre-surgery PET last fall that made things look so bad that the surgeon felt it would just be palliative surgery, rather than curative, but once he got in and looked around, things were a lot better in reality than they had looked on the PET scan. I think from my experience and what I've read that false positives are relatively common with the PET, just as CT scans can give more false negatives. Ideally, we'd get both, for the most possible information. Hope everything goes well for your husband-Ann

    Got some very little spots on my lungs!
    the pop on/off since more than a year not growing not cea related ! So......
  • John23
    John23 Member Posts: 2,122 Member
    Options

    I have had several...
    false positives with the PET. I had three small spots in loops of bowel that looked suspicious, although as the SUVs were not very high, the decision was made to just keep an eye on them. All three spots were unchanging for about a year, and then disappeared completely on the last scan I had. I also had a pre-surgery PET last fall that made things look so bad that the surgeon felt it would just be palliative surgery, rather than curative, but once he got in and looked around, things were a lot better in reality than they had looked on the PET scan. I think from my experience and what I've read that false positives are relatively common with the PET, just as CT scans can give more false negatives. Ideally, we'd get both, for the most possible information. Hope everything goes well for your husband-Ann

    annalexandria -

    Thanks Ann!

    Good health to you and yours,

    John
  • valley
    valley Member Posts: 94
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    I have had several...
    false positives with the PET. I had three small spots in loops of bowel that looked suspicious, although as the SUVs were not very high, the decision was made to just keep an eye on them. All three spots were unchanging for about a year, and then disappeared completely on the last scan I had. I also had a pre-surgery PET last fall that made things look so bad that the surgeon felt it would just be palliative surgery, rather than curative, but once he got in and looked around, things were a lot better in reality than they had looked on the PET scan. I think from my experience and what I've read that false positives are relatively common with the PET, just as CT scans can give more false negatives. Ideally, we'd get both, for the most possible information. Hope everything goes well for your husband-Ann

    thanks so much for your
    thanks so much for your replies. Ann, I'm glad that things turned out good for you. Love the picture. take care

    val