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cat scan but no pet scan

Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2010

I was just diagnosed with anal cancer. A few days ago I got a cat scan but no pet scan? Is this adequate? Or am I being shortchanged because I am on medicare? I am very confused and worried about this. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

z's picture
Posts: 1411
Joined: May 2009

Hi Happypaddler,

Sorry you had to be here. I had a pet-ct to stage me. Now I know there are several posters that have just had the ct. I believe in Canada, that they just use the ct. Now after they get the results of the ct scan, and hopefully this won't happen, they might want to proceed with a pet-ct. Anal Cancer has a 10% chance of metasis, which is very low. Now this depends on how advanced the cancer is and if it is Well, Moderately, or Poorly differentiated. Now I have good insurance, so that makes me wonder if thats why I didn't just have the ct. I am sure others will chime in. Welcome Lori.

mp327's picture
Posts: 4148
Joined: Jan 2010


So sorry your circumstances have brought you here, but I hope you'll find lots of support. As for PET vs. CT, I believe the PET can pick up things that a CT cannot. However, CT scans are still very reliable and, as Lori said, in Canada PET scans are not used at all or infrequently. If I were you, I would ask my doctor why I did not have a PET scan to see what he/she says. And if there are any questionable things on your CT scan that need further evaluation, I would insist on a PET. I know that some people also get MRI's, which would be something else to ask about. I wish you all the best and hope you'll keep us posted on how things are progressing toward treatment for you.

cbs6931's picture
Posts: 63
Joined: Mar 2010

The PET does show things that the CAT cannot. And if anything is questionable on the CAT insist on the PET.

Sending good thoughts your way, and wishing you the best,


Posts: 23
Joined: Jul 2010


I'm not sure what the answer is to your question, but if you want to go to this website, they might be able to help you. They actually have an "Ask the Expert" option and they'll e-mail you an answer. I found it quite by accident. I don't think we're supposed to post links here, but I'll just tell you that it's the University of Maryland Medical Center. I think it's umm.edu.

Hang in there - my husband was diagnosed over a year ago and is doing well. I suggest researching and gathering knowledge!

We're here for you, so don't feel like you're alone.


pjjenkins's picture
Posts: 173
Joined: Mar 2009

Hi, Happypaddler-
I love your screen name!

It was a colonoscopy followed by a CAT that got me my diagnosis and there was considerable discussion about how to stage my cancer. In fact I don't feel it was properly staged and I was never given the specifics most folks here get. The medical oncologist really wanted the PET, however, and he won the day - it was a good two weeks following diagnosis. I was told some insurers don't cover it but they got some specialist company to say that given the circumstances it was best to use a PET. And they did for the first couple of followups. I am now 2 years post treatment, went on Medicare last year and this year they only did a CAT with contrast.

From what I've read and the discussions here, PET has a slight edge over CAT but not a whole lot.

Good luck with getting it all in place and keep us posted... we are rooting for you!


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