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Confused on scans

Posts: 78
Joined: Jan 2006

This board seems to be more active than the breast cancer board, so I am going to ask here.

It is my understanding that a CT Scan checks your organs and a Bone Scan checks your bones. What does a PET Scan check? Is a Bone Scan & PET Scan the same Scan?

Thanks in advance.


Posts: 16
Joined: Oct 2005

Hi LoVonna,
My understanding of all this is,
CT scan is done by taking pictures in ,
fine slices of each organ and making a three dimensional picture,showing lesions over 1 cm in size,(this can differ depending how fine slices the machine does,
PET scan is mostly done to check out a lesion that shows on the CT, it is a different process, you are given radio tagged glucose and then scanned an hour later and the Pet will show hot spots of fast growing cells taking up the glucose which may be tumours (can be other lesions as well)
Bone scan checks bones and can show disease that does not necessarily appear on Pet , I think because of the denisity of bone?
Hope this helps , others may explain it further,
Good luck with it all,


lfondots63's picture
Posts: 822
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi Lovonna,

We are a very chatty group here. The PET scan is with dye that lights up any cancerous cells. It is used after a CAT scan when a spot is found that is thought to be cancerous. I believe the bone scan is to verify that the cancer has not gone into your bones. Hope this helps. HUGS that you are going through this too.


Posts: 78
Joined: Jan 2006

Thank you. I was injected an hour prior to my scan, so I must have had a PET Scan.

I enjoy reading this board, I learn so much. May God bless each of you.


KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

To make it even MORE confusing, the machine that does CT scans can also do PET scans....many times both are done at the same 'laying'.
Jackie gave a great description...just one thing to add...
When I had my CT scan last week, the tech told me that it would show more soft-tissue stuff....NOT bone mets....that is a bone scan. (Not to be confused with a bone DENSITY scan...I've had that too...sigh that tests for osteoporosis, which I have, also...sigh again!).
Hugs, Kathi

Betsydoglover's picture
Posts: 1256
Joined: Jul 2005

But, just to make it more confusing, the machine that does CT in conjunction with PET, does not do what is called a "diagnostic CT". Instead it just does CT for positioning. SO, while it might turn up something, it is not really the same as full diagnostic CT with contrast.

Meanwhile, I've never had a bone scan, but I am a veteran of PET and CT scans.

Take care,

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