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What are hot spots????

rose20's picture
Posts: 277
Joined: Jan 2011

Can someome tell me what hot spots mean from a petscan?
I just found out that there are 3 hotspots that showed up in my brother but the doctor is not concerned about them but said they will keep these watched.
What does this mean?????
Should we be concerned???

paul61's picture
Posts: 1275
Joined: Apr 2010


When a PET scan is done a radio active dye is mixed with a sugar solution and the person who is getting the scan drinks the solution. The PET scan measures the "uptake" of the solution in various parts of the body. Cancer cells tend to use more sugar than other "normal" cells and show up as areas of increased sugar update or increased radio activity. They refer to these areas of increased activity as "hot spots".

However, other conditions can also cause increased sugar uptake or increased activity. These include, inflammation, scar tissue, and a number of other abnormalities. Typically, an oncologist would look for a correlation between a physical abnormality, typically identified with a CT scan, and an activity related abnormality identified with a PET scan to suggest there is cancer present and even then they might request a biopsy of the cells to confirm the diagnosis.

So a "hot spot" is just an area of increased radio activity identified in the scan. Since your oncologist suggests watching the area I assume he thinks it is caused by something other than cancer.

Best Regards,

Paul Adams
McCormick, South Carolina

DX 10/22/2009 T2N1M0 Stage IIB
12/03/2009 Ivor Lewis
2/8 through 6/14/2010 Adjuvant Chemo Cisplatin, Epirubicin, 5 FU
3/14/2011 CT Scan NED

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance!

rose20's picture
Posts: 277
Joined: Jan 2011

Thank you so very much...this is a relief to hear.

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