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Lena Rose
Posts: 73
Joined: Apr 2010

I have a question about your first post treatment scan. My husband finished treatment on 6/10th and is due for a scan next month. Did you have a CT scan and a PET scan or just one? Are both of them necessary?

Pumakitty's picture
Posts: 652
Joined: Mar 2010

My dad just had his first CT scan this Monday and will go for the PET on Friday. I am not sure if you always have both or not.


johnlax38's picture
Posts: 136
Joined: Aug 2010

Hi Lena,

Like your husband I get my first CT scan in a few weeks and a PET scan in a month. I think the PET is a good idea because it not only looks at the head and neck, it checks the rest of the body. I think the PET scans are very valuable versus the plain ol' CT scans.

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8292
Joined: Sep 2009

I think the PET scans are very valuable versus the plain ol' CT scans.

RushFan's picture
Posts: 223
Joined: Aug 2010

My first post treatment scan was on 6/10/2010 and was CT only. I will have my second CT in about two weeks.

My surgical onc. did not offer or mention PET scan, but a friend whose mother is fighting the battle suggested we (I) should get one. We asked my RAD onc. about it and he said normally a CT is standard and appropriate. But he liked the idea to cover all of our bases and put in the order for the PET scan, which was all clear thankfully.

I recently read the following from an article on line about Michael Douglas:

"Dr. Lawrence Tena, attending physician in the department of radiation and oncology at Beth Israel Comprehensive Cancer Center in New York City, said the good news is that the majority of throat cancers are localized in the body.

Localized means the cancer has not spread below the clavicle. The body has the ability to keep cancers above the clavicle; it is just the nature of the immune system and lymphatic system."

I want to ask my doctor about this for sure.

Hoping for the best results for your husbands scan,

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8292
Joined: Sep 2009

I have been told similar statements from my ENT, with exceptions.

A lot, like everything else depends on the origin of inception, staging and many other variables. There is higher probability that it will not spread to areas below other than the N&H, but no guarantees.

As I have read on here (and been educated by such), this is not always the case.


JUDYV5's picture
Posts: 392
Joined: Jun 2010

I only had a CT scan. They did the first CT scan at 7 weeks followed by a physical exam. I go back at the end of September.

Ed_PortOrange's picture
Posts: 110
Joined: Jun 2010

I had a CT scan done 30 days post treatment and then 60 days later a PET. Checkups in between with throat scopes. My next PET is scheduled 120 days after the last one, early October.

Think positive, God is with us.


Pam M's picture
Pam M
Posts: 2196
Joined: Nov 2009

Pre-treatment, the PET was to check for cancerous activity anywhere in the body (even though my docs thought there'd be nothing other than my primary and affected lymph nodes showing up); the CT was to get the size and shape (PET can pick up activity from cancerous cells too small to show up in CT). My RO said that most insurance companies won't approve PETs as often as CTs. Post-treatment, the PET verified no "activity" in two of my three original sites (primary and one lymph node), and reduced activity in the remaining affected node. The CT showed no primary tumor remaining, total reduction in enlargement of "biggest" node, and a reduction in enlargement of the remaining "active" node. I could be wrong, but I believe the PET exposes you to more radioactive materials than the CT.

johnlax38's picture
Posts: 136
Joined: Aug 2010

You are correct Pam, there is more radioactive material with the PET. I had to get an injection 1hr prior to the scan, the injection was radioactive material.

Posts: 18
Joined: Jul 2010

Hi Lena

My husband had only Ct's prior to RX.

He had his first post RX CT after 4weeks and he had his first PET 10 weeks post RX.

It's my understanding is that the PET scan shows any micoscopic cancer. It's also my assumption that no pre RX Pet was done because the needle biopsy and the CT scans showed Stage 4 throat cancer with mets to the lymph nodes but no mets to the rest of the body.

Any PET scan results prior to RX of course would have been positive but would not have changed the RX plan.

He will have CT's every 3 months but no further PET scans. I honestly would feel more comfortable if he did have additional post RX PET scans. However when I asked why no further PET scans were scheduled his docs reply was the ins would not pay for it unless they could justify it. I assume that means if he has a positive CT then it would be justfied.

Anyway anyone who has advanced cancer I think should have a post RX PET. However if a person is fortunate enough to have early stage scc it may not be necessary.

Hope this is helpful

Good Luck and God Bless

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8292
Joined: Sep 2009

I have had separate and more frequent CT scans, but all of the PET scans that I have had are a combination PET/CT scan.

My first PET was after my tonsils were removed, but prior to any chemo or radiation. This gave a good baseline scan of a much larger and detailed area.

I also had a CT scan between nine weeks of chemo and the seven weeks of concurrent chemo/rads. If nothing else this confirmed that the tumor (lymph node) prior to chemo had dissolved completely away. I had a primary of the tonsils and secondary of a single lymph node).

I also had a PET/CET around 10 - 12 weeks post treatment confirming that there were no remaining evidence of disease.

I also had a CT six months post treatment as a follow-up and just completed my first annual PET/CT to again confirm N.E.D..

From reading my billing, it looks like CT's run around $2000 and PET close to $8000+.


kimmygarland's picture
Posts: 313
Joined: Aug 2009

Our hospital's protocol is just to do a pet scan, or at least it was for my husband. They only do CT or MRI if they see potential issue.

I think it varies from place to place, or maybe is based on what insurance will approve?

Greg53's picture
Posts: 849
Joined: Apr 2010

Sounds like everyone is differrent on this too. 6 weeks post-treatment - CT. 12 weeks post - PET. Next scheduled is 6 months post - CT. Then a PET at 12 months post. He said if CT was suspicious at 6 months they would move PET up to 9 months post. Doc also said insurance would not pay for 2 PETs in succsession.

Lena Rose
Posts: 73
Joined: Apr 2010

It's very interesting how they all differ.

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8292
Joined: Sep 2009

As Greg mentioned, based solely on cost I presume. I believe that my insurance mainly only covers the PET once annually.

Posts: 190
Joined: Feb 2010

My husband finished treatment on March 6th. First CT in April. Second CT / xrays of head and chest in June. Next CT in Nov. No scheduled PET. I believe our insurance will also only cover a PET once annually... however.. I think if the CT showed something suspicious.. they could order one. I feel comfortable with the CT's as they can compare them to the old ones..

Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

I had a CT and a month later a PET the first time around, now days at MD Anderson I have an MRI and the next day a PET, I think it just depends on the doctor and what he is looking for.

Glenna M's picture
Glenna M
Posts: 1576
Joined: May 2009

I am 11 months post treatment and was having CT scans at 3 month intervals. After my last scan I was told that I will now only need them every 6 months - woohoo!!! I have 2 different types of cancer - NSCLC in left lung and SCC laryngeal. My doctors have not mentioned having a PET scan but I'm sure my insurance will only cover one per year. All of my scans have been coming back good and I am still in remission from both cancers so I'm not worried yet. If I start having any symptoms or concerns I know they will see me immediately and perform whatever tests they feel are necessary so for now I am just enjoying life and trying not to worry about reoccurence or mets.

Stay well,

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