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Metabolic activity...what does it mean???

kristasplace's picture
Posts: 950
Joined: Oct 2007

Hello friends! I had my first PET scan a week and a half ago, and didn't receive a call back from them, so i figured everything was okay. They called back this morning to tell me there is some metabolic activity on my right ovary, and i have to get an MRI to see what's going on. I tried to get more information out of them, but they always beat around the bush, and never give the up and up. All she would tell me is that the menstrual cycles can cause activity to show up on PET's. I told her i was sterilized from the radiation and don't have menstrual cycles. She just hmmmed, and paused. The pause scared me, and her stumbling over words after that just made it worse. I know i can only get honest answers from all of you, so here i am...does this mean it's most likely cancer? How accurate are the PET scans? Have any of you had a PET light up and it NOT be cancer?

Thank you guys so much!


Kerry S's picture
Kerry S
Posts: 607
Joined: Dec 2009


This is a copy of the results of my PET 8/09. One doc wanted to cut that part of me out. My colon surgeon and I agreed to wait and see.

"There is a new area of activity in the retrovesical rectum, measuring 8.4, that was not present on the prior study. Possibility of recurrent neoplasm in this region cannot be excluded."

On a CT scan 12/09 this area showed clear. I would not get too upset over this. Keep a positive attitude. The folks that read the scans have to work in a “fail safe mode”.


Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Where u been? You snuck out under the fence didn't ya'?

PETs are not fool proof by any means. And to answer your question, with my lung tumor back in October, both spots lit up in the PET scan and CT showed growth, so all indication are it was cancerous, but they turned out not to be.

An MRI can't hurt just to rule anything out. Some fluids in the body can give a false/positive. The hem-haw is just simply that "she didn't know" and did not know what to tell you.

How was your bloodwork last time checked? The lab, the PET, and the MRI should help to answer your questions and alleviate your concerns.

I think you're ok, but I still want to hear back from you.

Good seeing you - don't be a stranger:)


kristasplace's picture
Posts: 950
Joined: Oct 2007

Thank you so much for your responses! I feel a lot better. I know most scanning isn't fool-proof, but each time they take a scan of me, SOMETHING seems to show up which later turns out to either be nothing, or something to keep watching. You know the fear...eventually my luck is going to run out, and when it does, it's going to be something BIG! I try to keep those thoughts at bay, and thankfully, after coming here and getting answers from you guys, i do relax a bit.

Craig, i've become one of those facebook addicts that has to feed my sim animals every few hours! lol! As if i don't have enough to do! A lot of our friends here are also on facebook, so i'm able to keep track of them that way. If you have a facebook account, please add me as a friend. It's under my maiden name: Krista D'Ambroso. I need to add Lisa D's, too. That goes for anyone else reading this post...please add me on facebook (and hide my game posts if you don't play the sim games).

Love you guys!

Kathleen808's picture
Posts: 2361
Joined: Jan 2009

It is so good to hear from you. Sorry that it is over something that has your attention like this. Dick has had both cancer and things that are not cancer light up on the PET. He had a soar throat that lit up on a PET and it was not cancer. He had a lymph node lite up in September and biopsy confirmed it was cancer. Right now the lymph node it lighting up a bit so they are going to take it out and check to see if it is cancer or if it is the activity of the lymph node healing.
I hope this gives you some info. I know things light up on PETs that aren't cancer so I think it is a good idea that they are following up. I hope you get an all clear.
Take care.


Trapbear's picture
Posts: 109
Joined: Sep 2009

Hi Krista,
To do PET, the radiologist injects you with radioactive (labeled) glucose (sugar). Cells that are rapidly growing or otherwise metabolically active take up the glucose and light up on the scan. In general, cancer cells are more metabolically active than normal cells and tend to "light up" As the rest of the gang stated above, not all "active" cells are cancer. To make it even more confusing, some colon cancers are by nature not PET avid and never show up on PET scans. The most PET avid organ of all is the brain, it lights up like crazy since glucose is its sole source of energy.
Try not to worry, I hope this turns out to be nothing to worry about!
Take care,

tootsie1's picture
Posts: 5054
Joined: Feb 2008

Hey, Krista.

I will be praying it's nothing!


HollyID's picture
Posts: 950
Joined: Dec 2009

Krista, I haven't had to have a PET, but just wanted to let you know, I added you to my FB acct and I'm sending good vibes your way. I know scans are not the end all, be all! They are diagnostic tools that can let the docs know if they should investigate things, and even they can be wrong, as are the scans, themselves.

msccolon's picture
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2004

Hi Krista! I just wanted to say, back in 2006 I had a very large tumor on my right ovary and when I went back and checked an old scan, it had actually shown a 7cm growth, but nothing was said, only about other much smaller tumors in the omentum. Research showed that docs tend to ignore growths of ovaries 7cm or less because that can happen normally on a monthly basis and they usually resolve themselves. However, any larger tumor will be 7cm or smaller before they become larger! So be diligent on this! It's probably nothing, just have it followed up with a scan or sonogram to see if anything shows! I'm gonna hunt you down on facebook as well! I play a few games as well, so totally block them if you don't play them as well! :)

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