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What is a PET scan?

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

I haven't had one but it sounds like it's one of the better tests for detecting cancer? My neighbour has battled breast cancer twice and felt that something was up a third time and her doctor was poo-pooing her and she insisted on having a PET scan and they did find more cancer, luckily in time.

I'm just wondering what it is exactly and what's involved should I ever need one. Is there an IV involved like with a CAT scan? I have small veins so IVs are tough and nobody seems to be able to just use my port. Do you lie there like a CAT scan?

Thanks everyone!

Jan

janderson1964
Posts: 2215
Joined: Oct 2011

Positron Emission Tomography. They inject you with radioactive gloucose since the cancer is supposed to absorb more gloucose thatn normal cells, it will absorb the majority of the radioactive gloucose and will light up on the images. It is still not 100% accurate since any increased metabolic activity such as a hairling fracture would absorb more gloucose and light up. Also they are very expensive and insurace companies are rejecting coverage more these days. For example, I sued to regularly get PET scans up until a few years ago, now I can only get CT scans, and MRI's and I still have the same insurance and coverage. I heard medicare just changed thier coverage limiting Medicare customers to only 3 PET scans in thier lifetime. Most hospitals don't even have PET scanners, they are usually on a tractor trailor which travels to the differnt hospitals in that particular region/network. Every PET I ever had was on a trailor. Kind of strange at first going into a trailor for a scan.

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

Most oncologist do a pet scan at diagnosis to get a starting marker, not all but most do. It picks up activity naked to the eye or a CT. It is an IV and my pets were done in the same scanner as my CT. 

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

When you go to get a PET or CT scan, go to where you usually get accessed at (where you get your chemo) and have them access your port then go for the scans and they'll use your port.  Ask them first and insist they do use your port.  

Where I get my scans they do not have the capability to access the port but they did tell me I could get accessed before the scan and they would use the port, saves a lot of needle sticks, that is IF your port can handle the stuff they send in the vein, ports are different as well.  Then you go back where you got accessed and they will de-access you.

Here's hoping that is possible for you and that you save on some needle sticks.

Winter Marie

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

Winter do they use your port at Stanford for a CT, they wouldn't use mine?  I had each arm pricked last week, one for the scan and one for blood draw.   They sent me to lab with IV, from CT, and lab said no, can't draw blood from there, so I had to go up to oncology to have it taken out and then back to lab to have other arm pricked.  

 

You should see my arm, I've never had an IV needle start an inch below the vein that they accessed. It's purple and sore. 

herdizziness's picture
herdizziness
Posts: 3642
Joined: Apr 2010

I told them I need oncology nurse to access as I can't handle needle prick after prick.  And if the lab won't draw the blood,  again you ask for an oncology nurse to do so.

It's easier if you mention to the underling doc that all the onc's have and they will help you with the port Usage usually.

Winter Marie

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Thank you for the information! I get my terms mixed up, is it the CAT or CT that includes an IV but the MRI doesn't, right? And what's the difference between a CAT scan and  CT scan or is there one? I don't know if I'll ever have a PET scan but I was wondering what it was just in case.

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Oh, and I'll try that about the port, thank you! I just go to these things and let them do what they do.

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 5177
Joined: Jan 2013

Not really, but for me thats what it does stand for. 

I've had two PET Scans, and both were incredibly tourtorous. I don't have much in the way of bladder control, and the sugar juice they pumped into my veins just went straight to my bladder (or so it seemed). Only half way through the scan and I needed to go, and by the end, I was in absolute agony. I was actually shaking with pain. How I didn't wet the exam bed I do not know. 

If I have to have another PET Scan, I am going to wear Depends, and just let it all go. 

Just thought I'd throw that in there, seeing that the above posts covered what a PET Scan is. 

Sue - Trubrit

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

Oh Sue, I'm sorry but you made me laugh.

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 5177
Joined: Jan 2013

its what I do best. 

Sue - Trubrit

Yolllmbs's picture
Yolllmbs
Posts: 361
Joined: May 2014

I was told to make an appointment with the Nurse's clinic for blood work or any other type of access to the port.  I specifically tell them it's for port access.  They told me the lab could not access the port as they are not trained.  I have not had a pet scan.  My doctor preferred to use the cat scan.  He said one is like a map the other is like the movement on the map.  I have asked several oncologists who said the cat scan is preferred but the pet scan is ordered if needed.  Sue... you made me laugh hard enough I almost peed my pants...lol

 

Yolanda

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