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A Warning about Scans

Macmadgram's picture
Posts: 8
Joined: Mar 2012

My daughter wanted my scans and pre-treatment appointments to move a little faster (we are Canadians), so she had me join her in Florida (where she has a second home). She got the process rolling for me in Florida and I flew down, had both a CT scan and a PET scan, consultations with both chemo and radiation oncologists within 2 days of being there. After reviewing the results, the oncologists encouraged me to go back to Canada for treatment because they said that the PET scan showed that my anal canal tumor was localized and that there was no lymph node involvement. They felt I could wait the few extra weeks to start treatment here. Let me say, I was extremely impressed with the clinic and the doctors there. I had never been treated so well in my life by medical professionals!

I came back to Canada with the CT Scan and PET Scan and records of all their findings from Florida. Having made this excursion to the U.S. seemed to speed things up here-- almost immediately, I saw a chemo oncologist and gave him my medical records in Florida including the DVDs of the scans. I asked him if I had to go ahead with a scheduled MRI here in Canada since I had had the PET scan in the US. He said I did. He told me that MRIs SHOW THE PELVIC AREA MUCH BETTER THAN DO PET SCANS. I had the MRI and it showed that I not only have lymph node involvement but that I have a sizable (1.6 cm) cancer in my lymph nodes! We again consulted the oncologists in Florida who once again went over my scans from there and found absolutely no indication of lymph node involvement.

Had I not had the MRI, I would not be being treated for the cancer in my lymph nodes. So, I know that perhaps this message will cause alarm to some people but I just couldn't keep this information to myself. If you are newly in treatment, ask your doctor about an MRI.


mp327's picture
Posts: 4127
Joined: Jan 2010

I appreciate you posting this, Carol! Great information!

sephie's picture
Posts: 646
Joined: Apr 2009

At MD Anderson the radiation includes the lymph nodes in the pelvic area whether the scans show node involvement or not. so hopefully we are all covered. hope so. thanks for info sephie

Posts: 374
Joined: Jan 2011

Good info. Same at Scott & White in Temple, Texas. Lymph nodes are treated regardless.

Posts: 1255
Joined: Oct 2011

It is at least worth mentioning this to our docs so they know we are aware of what could be missed. Sometimes its for insurance reasons but then one should be given the option of paying out of pocket. Thank you for the helpful info and good luck as you continue with your treatment.

Posts: 475
Joined: Mar 2011

I had CT, PET and MRI tests run before any treatment. The MRI was the last test run of the three tests. The MRI showed one enlarged lymph node where the CT and PET scans did not. The radiation oncologist treated this lymoh node as if it had cancer. As it ended up I had Stage 2 cancer meaning there was no cancer in my enlarged lymph node. The chemo doctor said sometimes the lymph node can be enlarged as a result of all the tests being run simultaneously.

Posts: 476
Joined: Jan 2012

Funny how these scan results are all over the place. I had all three for cervical cancer, MRI first, then a PET/CT. MRI showed no lymph node involvement and a very superficial lesion. The PET/CT picked up 2 positive pelvic lymph nodes. Lucky the pet scan lit up as the nodes were not all that large, despite the fact a tumor was growing in one of them. Surgically respected with rad hysterectomy and followed by aggressive chemo and rads.

Posts: 475
Joined: Mar 2011

I think this is the reason for running the MRI,CT, And PET scans to make certain all evidence of cancer is picked up before treatment.

shirlann54's picture
Posts: 162
Joined: Aug 2011

Good information Thank you. When do you start your treatments?

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