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PET Scan, has anyone had one that was bright yellow and later found out that it was inflammation, not cancer?

Posts: 146
Joined: Jul 2010

Angela's PET scan showed bright yellow. Her doctor and California said the cancer was back. The doctor at Anderson said that inflammation can cause the PET scan to show bright yellow and said she had to have a biopsy to know for sure if the cancer is back. Does anyone know how common it is for a PET scan to show bright yellow and only be inflammation? Linda

Cafewoman53's picture
Posts: 737
Joined: Jul 2010

I'm pretty sure is is very common that is why they don't want you to exercise before a pet scan and they keep you quiet and warm an hour before.

Posts: 26
Joined: Jan 2011

Yes, I had a CT scan last July and it had a yellow (sign of activity) My doc felt like it was inflammation from the surgery so we did a needle biopsy and sure enough that was what it was. The rest of the scan was clear.

Posts: 1995
Joined: May 2003

So sorry to hear Angela is going through so much. The other ladies offered some good feedback. And I can agree that inflammation could be a cause of the highlighted areas. There's no doubt that inflammation can also cause a spike in the CA125 levels. Please get back to us and let us know what they find out.

Till then, sending lots of prayers to all of you.


Cindy Bear
Posts: 570
Joined: Jul 2009

Not sure what that means.. they measure the pet scan by SUV.. standard uptake volume. The theory being that the cancerous cells are more active and will take up more of the radioactive glucose.. my mothr's gyn/onc. described it as sort of geiger counter reading . anything over 2.7 is most likely malignancy is what we were told..... what were Angela's SUV nos? Do you know?
Anyhow, praying and hoping that the cancer isn't back....

Hissy_Fitz's picture
Posts: 1869
Joined: Sep 2009

In a PET scan they inject glucose attached to a radioactive tracer. Cancer, normal fast-dividing cells, and "active" areas of the body eat up the glucose and thus take up the tracer. This causes what we call the "light up." On the color screen, it looks like a heat map where the brightest and hottest areas (red, yellows) -- represent the uptake areas.

The highest concentration of these molecules will occur in areas of hypermetabolic activity, i.e., tumors, which will show up on the PET scan as bright yellow and white spots like a sunburst in an otherwise dark sky. Trauma to the tissues will also cause the PET scan to light up, so it makes sense that inflammation might look suspicious, as well.


Angela_BRCA1's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Mar 2011

Thanks Mom! I love you!

Thank you everyone for taking time to share your experience, encouragement and prayers! Sending prayers back for a beautiful healthy year for each of you.


Posts: 146
Joined: Jul 2010

It is so great to see you on this board. You will get alot of support from these great ladies and very good info. It seems cancer stikes the best of the best people. Mom

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