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PET / CT Scan Preparation

Scambuster's picture
Posts: 973
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Everyone.

As we have quite a bit of scanning activity and many questions I thought it pertinent to post the following.


As we all have to get a PET/CT in order to ‘Stage’ or check if our Cancer is still there or not, I thought I would post what I think is a good idea for preparation before your scan and also some steps post Scan to reduce the harmful effects.

The PET/CT is usually the most effective way to locate cancer but they involve radiation and the injection of a radioactive sugar in order for them to work. While the medics generally claim the PET/CT is harmless, I would argue as how can they possibly be ‘good’ for us. Anyway, as we are stuck with this technology for now, there are a few things we can do to reduce potential harm from the PET/CT.

Firstly, you can control the frequency and number of scans you receive. This is a personal choice and something you must carefully consider for yourself. It’s a horrible ‘Catch 22’ situation, where if you don’t scan and don’t detect the cancer or the recurrence, that’s bad, OR if you Scan too often and increase your risk of getting cancer or a recurrence, that’s also bad. You have toi decide what you are personally comfortable with.

Radiation and the radioactive sugar can induce the occurrence of ‘free radicals’ in the body which in turn can damage our cells and alter DNA and cause disease including cancer. Getting X-rays and PET /CT Scans are shown to increase our risk or getting cancer and or recurrence. This is a fact.

Antioxidants are essentially molecules that scavenge and neutralize these ‘free radicals’ in the body. Many foods contain antioxidants, so if we eat a diet rich in antioxidants and if our immune system is working properly, that usually does the job. I don’t however think we were built to withstand the rigors of X-rays and radiation and certainly not to the level we on these boards have endured, so giving your body some support to deal with the increased levels of free radicals in my opinion, is a very good idea.

We can do this by loading up with these antioxidants for a few days before your scan. This can be done by eating them in raw food form and in supplement form. As the bigger the hit the better, I suggest using supplements as you can get more in and faster. Eating lots of Antioxidant rich foods is also a very good idea regardless of when. The top 10 Antioxidants are : Vitamin C *, Vitamin E*, Beta-carotene*, Selenium*, Lutein, Lycopene, Anthocyanins, Coenzyme Q10*, Picnogenol and Alpha-lipoic acid*. The ones marked here with an Asterisk * should be very easy to get from your local pharmacy or health food /supplement store. You should be able to take double or triple the recommended daily dose for 2-3 days before your scan. Best after a meal. If you can’t get hold of all these, even taking 2-3 is good so if you are restricted for whatever reason, get the Vitamin C, E for sure and maybe Selenium or Betacarotene. If you can only do one, get Vitamin C. You can take 2-3 grams 2 or 3 times a day. The only side effect is you may get the ‘runs’.

You are advised to not take anything except water for 7-8 hours prior to your scan so load up on these supplements before that time and as said, starting a few days before the scan is best. Once you are finished your Scan, you re-dose again (esp Vit C, 2-3 grams twice or three times a day) as soon as you can, and get into fresh vegetable juices (Carrot, Celery, Beetroot, berries, etc) and if available, a few shots of Wheat Grass juice and of course loads of water for the rest of the day. This will help neutralize the negative effects of the scan and flush the nasty stuff out of your system. You are advised not to go near pregnant women or little kids for 6 - 8 hours after the scan and also to close the toilet lid before flushing and double flush for those 8 hours which is how long it will take to before the radioactive solution is safely dead.

The day prior to your scan it is also important to not take ‘any’ form of sugar whatsoever, nor carbohydrates 9they turn into sugars), juices or fruits. It is probably best to have a ‘huge’ breakfast the day before and if you can – then fast on water till your scan. Having your body clear from sugars will allow for a more accurate scan which is what you want.

There is plenty of information about these buried on the net or in your library. I hope this helps some of you in preparing for your scan to 1. Get a more accurate result and 2. Minimized the negative effects caused by the PET/CT and put your mind a l little more at ease.
I believe we need to take every step available to us to stay healthy and remove as many things as we can that promote or progresses cancer and other disease. This is a simple and easy step to take and you don’t really have anything to lose.

Best to all


susan0803's picture
Posts: 90
Joined: Aug 2010

thanks for the info. you are a great virtual nutrition library. beats having to scour the web for stuff.

Hondo's picture
Posts: 6643
Joined: Apr 2009

Sounds like good info to me too

Posts: 194
Joined: Aug 2010

how often are these PET scan are done after treatments are done? because I am getting my PET scan done next week after 7 weeks of post treatments?

Kent Cass
Posts: 1898
Joined: Nov 2009

Scam- excellent advice, as usual. Thank you.

Tim- our collective experience is that the only reason for the first/7-week PS/CT is to establish a new baseline for the "experts"/Drs. to have as a point of reference for the ones that follow. The first is typically done way too early, and is prone to show false-Positives that are not C- usually scar tissue, etc. If I had my choice of druthers, knowing what I now do, I would've told my ENT that I'd wait until 6-months. There is, however, the possibility they can find something where the rads were not applied, so that might also be a consideration. Still, if you had both C&R, it would seem to me the 6-month scenario makes a lot more sense- especially when it involves $, and what they shoot into you.


D Lewis's picture
D Lewis
Posts: 1576
Joined: Jan 2010

Good stuff, as always, Scam.



Greg53's picture
Posts: 848
Joined: Apr 2010

Good info Scam - makes sense to me.


team stevens
Posts: 46
Joined: Sep 2010

thanks Scam, all of that is good info. Mike goes for his PET/CT November 3rd,it'll come in handy.


pascotty's picture
Posts: 171
Joined: Aug 2010

Thank you Scam for posting this info, I am doing most of the vitamins and supplements mentioned, so it is great to know that it is given consideration by others. As Ididn't know about this website while I was having my treatment I did a lot of research and with the help of a naturopath embarked on a pill party. I believe it is a much better thing to know why you are taking something and how it is helping. I would love my husband to take the things I am taking cause I know how it would help, but, because he hasn't done the research and understanding of what each thing does he gets a little sidetracked and it is not as vital for him. I am completley comforted by your advice and information I find it extremely helpful and before my next PET scan I will be dosing up. Once again, thank you for your care and advice. xxxx

Scambuster's picture
Posts: 973
Joined: Nov 2009

This is just to bring this to the top for those about to go for their Scan.

Wishing you all a NED result.


Posts: 177
Joined: Dec 2009

I am scheduled for a PET/CT scan this week, I had an MRI a few weeks ago and I think they want to confirm the findings.


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

Very helpful info - I've got scans coming up on the fifteenth.

Kimba1505's picture
Posts: 557
Joined: Apr 2010

Thanks Scam...as Mark is one of the ones getting a PET scan this week. I will pass along your advice to him.

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