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what's better? CT or Pet Scan?

Posts: 150
Joined: Mar 2011

Do anyone know which is better? What is the story behind your answer?

ddpekks's picture
Posts: 162
Joined: Sep 2011

I don't know which is better....I believe they are essential for different reasons. My husband had CT early on to compare results from the PET after treatment. The PET is what showed his liver, lung & prostate cancer after colorectal cancer/treatment.

That's my un-medical story and I'm sticking to it.

Someone much smarter than me should be along to help.


Posts: 1846
Joined: Aug 2010

They have different purposes, for one thing, and, for another, most insurances will not pay for a PET scan when you have the "all clear". A CT scan will show gross changes: a PET will refine them, if needed.

It really depends on the where you are in the diagnosis/treatment as to what is appropriate.

jimwins's picture
Posts: 2111
Joined: Aug 2011

Hi Jackie,

I'm pasting something from another post:

Main difference between CT and PET scans is the
CT scan primarily produces a 3D image using xray technology
usually with contrasting dyes that are injected. They usually
give you something to drink in this procedure also.

The PET scan looks at cell function - you usually drink a
sugary substance that has radiotracers in them. Cancer cells
"light up" in the results.

I think PET scans are more expensive and insurance companies come
into play. From my experience, they did PET scans during chemo
and now that I'm in remission, they are doing CT scans.

My guess is PET scans might be a little more precise as they zero
in on cell activity while the CT scan will show tumors of a certain
size or greater.

Below is a link:

" target="_blank">Difference Between PET and CT Scans

Hope this helps.

Hugs and positive thoughts,

DX: DLBL 4/2011, Chemo completed 10/2011, currently in remission. ☺
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Barbara53's picture
Posts: 658
Joined: Aug 2009

Late in the battle, my mother found PETs much easier to take because you simply do an overnight carbo fast to prep, no swallowing massive amounts of foul stuff. CT is part of the PET -- a preliminary CT is done, shows some lesions, then the PET shows abnormal physiological activity. Young patients with reasonable chance of recovery are often not given PETs because of their toxicological effects, which is less of a concern when you're trying to manage symptoms. Hope this helps. Mom's doc gave her valium to help her lie still for a long time on scan day once she started having pain.

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