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Help Interpreting Scan Results

Jedimom
Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2014

I just got PET scan results in my online med chart, but don't see the doc until April 17…he's on vacation. I'm googling, but would love some help interpreting what I'm reading. I had colon cancer with resection 5 years ago. Stage IIIb. CEA levels have been steady between .5 and 1.8 until 6 weeks ago. Then they went to 7.9, 2 weeks later 6.0, 2 weeks later 10.7. CAT scan was clear. Here's what the PET report says:

"2.2 cm soft tissue nodule just posterior to the right psoas muscle with max SUV of 3.77. This is suspicious for metastatic disease. No additional of suspicious foci identified. A physiologic uptake within the liver, spleen, kidneys, bladder and bowel.
Mild uptake in the uterine cavity is nonspecific. A focal intense uptake in the distal vaginal area is noted. The etiology is uncertain. It may represent urine contamination versus 2 vaginal lesion. Correlation with GYN examination is recommended."

Thanks for any insights you can offer. And I understand that anything you might offer is NOT a diagnosis and DOES NOT substitute for my doctors advice.

NewHere's picture
NewHere
Posts: 1066
Joined: Feb 2015

I am not a doctor, I just read my reports and scans.  I am getting better at them, but with the amount of cancer in my lungs, it is pretty easy to spot the tumors ;)

Quick broad stroke (in case you are not familair with it) on a PET scan you drink the radioactive sugar.  Areas where the the radioactive sugar is shown to be going to "uptake areas" are more prominent.  Cancer cells will show higher uptake than other areas, though some parts of the body, such as the brain and the bladder, will show uptake but not to the same levels.  The SUV measurement is where they are seeing uptake/measuring.  

The key words are "suspicious for metastatic disease"  At Memorial Sloan Kettering "suspicious" means 75% chance of being cancer. ("possible" means 50%)  This may be standard terminology across all places, I have not looked into that. (In may be in the notes to the end of the report near signature)  I am guessing they are probably close to the same meanings.  The other uptake looks to be uncertain but should be followed up as mentioned in the report.

Try not too worry too much, and again I am not a doctor, but be prepared emotionally just in case.  

SandiaBuddy's picture
SandiaBuddy
Posts: 841
Joined: Apr 2017

I have stopped reading the scan reports because they freak me out unnecessarily and lead to nights of lost sleep.  I just wait for the doctor's interpretation.  Sometimes the things the radiologist (or whoever) word harshly are not really items of concern.  For what it's worth.

Betsydoglover's picture
Betsydoglover
Posts: 1254
Joined: Jul 2005

Obviously I am not a doc and you need to wait (which sucks I know) until you talk to him/her.

I never saw my scan results before my onc talked with me - at first at next appt within a few days and then later on the phone within 2 days after the scan.  Once I complained to her - other people get their results asap - why do I have to wait to go thru you?

 

She had a great answer.  "Do you think I add no value?"  She explained that she and my radiologist (always the same radio) discuss my results if anything is even remotely suspicious.  They may go back and forth and possibly adjust the "impression" after their multiple conversations - not adjust to make me feel better, but adjust to give a more accurate pic and assessment of the issues.  I have the good fortune of always seeing the same radiologist, so it is like I am his patient also.  Since that convo, I have been more at peace wiating to speak with my onc, rather than bugging the radio for a report that may scare me out of context.

My 2 cents.  Hope you get some peaceful clarification.

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