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CT Scan

shirleyann
shirleyann Member Posts: 5
edited March 2014 in Colorectal Cancer #1
I just had a Stage 2 colon resection 5 weeks ago, now a CT scan shows 1 spot at the very top of each of my lungs and a 5 mm spot on my liver. Now they want a PT scan that I am doing. How often are CT scans reliable ? Freaking out in OHIO

Comments

  • Betsydoglover
    Betsydoglover Member Posts: 1,248
    Hi Shirleyann -

    I can understand how worried you are and it is pointless to say "don't freak out", because testing is always a source of anxiety.

    Be aware that CT often shows things that in the end are determined NOT to be cancer. That doesn't really mean they are unreliable - just that they give an anatomic view and anatomy varies for a variety of benign reasons. That's certainly been the case with me (even though it also showed one thing that was determined to be cancer.)

    The reason they want to do the PET is to check for excessive "metabolic activity" - i.e. excess glucose uptake. If they see that in an area that lines up with a "spot" on CT, then they assume it is suspicious for metastatic disease. On the other hand, if PET shows no excess metabolic activity, then they continue to watch the "spot" on CT and if it remains stable may well declare it to be a normal physiologic variation - perhaps a cyst, a fatty area etc.

    So, hope you have the PET soon. It may well relieve your anxiety. And it is the right test to have.

    You have come to right place to find information, by the way. This is a great group.

    Betsy
  • shirleyann
    shirleyann Member Posts: 5

    Hi Shirleyann -

    I can understand how worried you are and it is pointless to say "don't freak out", because testing is always a source of anxiety.

    Be aware that CT often shows things that in the end are determined NOT to be cancer. That doesn't really mean they are unreliable - just that they give an anatomic view and anatomy varies for a variety of benign reasons. That's certainly been the case with me (even though it also showed one thing that was determined to be cancer.)

    The reason they want to do the PET is to check for excessive "metabolic activity" - i.e. excess glucose uptake. If they see that in an area that lines up with a "spot" on CT, then they assume it is suspicious for metastatic disease. On the other hand, if PET shows no excess metabolic activity, then they continue to watch the "spot" on CT and if it remains stable may well declare it to be a normal physiologic variation - perhaps a cyst, a fatty area etc.

    So, hope you have the PET soon. It may well relieve your anxiety. And it is the right test to have.

    You have come to right place to find information, by the way. This is a great group.

    Betsy

    Betsy, Thank you for response, I thought I was going to get a clear CT scan on Thursday since my cea count came back 1.1 the same day. The spots are very small but my doctor really scared me. I go Monday for the pet scan. Today I can't seem to stop crying and worrying.Thanks, Shirley
  • nanuk
    nanuk Member Posts: 1,358
    You are crying and worrying about nothing, because that's what it is until you find out for sure. in my opinion none of these diagnostic tests are reliable with the exception of biopsy.
    Your attitude is so very important in your healing; stay positive, and concentrate on those little buggars..imagine a little "pac-man" chomping away at them. Best wishes and prayers, Bud
  • KathiM
    KathiM Member Posts: 8,028
    Hey, Stage II surgery here. Removed Rectum, Sygmoid colon, had liver "polups" on CT scan. Turned out like everyone saying, not to worry. We are all built differently, thank God. But PET scan is great idea. Before this in your life, you have probably never been so examined. But don't over react until the facts. I kept a copy of my PET scan just for memory jogging. Keep the faith! (In yourself)
    Kathi
  • HowardJ
    HowardJ Member Posts: 474
    Hi,

    I think many of us, since being diagnosed with cancer, tend to think every new abnormality is cancer. I know I feel that way. However, sometimes a spot is just a spot.

    I'm also stage 2, and had a 5-7 mm "thing" in my liver. Turned out when read by another radiologist it was determined to be a cyst. Sometimes the scans have limitations which is why biopsies are done. Take it one step at a time and see what the PET shows.

    Howard
  • taraHK
    taraHK Member Posts: 1,952
    As others have said, my understanding is that CT scan can detect a mass, but cannot tell whether the mass is malignant or benign. You are doing the right thing, having a PET scan. It is normal to feel frightened and upset. But, try to focus on the fact that the spots they have seen could be "nothing". One of my favorite expressions (posted on my wall, where I look at it often) is" "Feed the faith, starve the doubt". Good luck and best wishes.
  • alharkabus
    alharkabus Member Posts: 9
    I have had scans that showed "spots" on my lung and liver. After further testing they turned out to a cyst (liver) and something I can no longer even remember the name of (lung).