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Doctor insights on: What Does Cancer Look Like On A Pet Scan

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What does breast cancer look like on a pet scan?

What does breast cancer look like on a pet scan?

Bright: Pet scans take advantage of the thought that most caners are more metabolically active than the normal tissues around them. This makes the cancers show up as "hot" or "bright" on pet imaging. There are other areas that are "bright" normally as well, like brain and to some extent liver. However, when using pet for breast cancer staging one is looking to see if there are unexpected bright areas. ...Read more

Dr. Barry Rosen
4,351 Doctors shared insights

Cancer (Definition)

Cancer is a group of diseases that is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth leading to invasion of surrounding tissues that spread to other parts of the body. Cancer can begin anywhere in the body and is usually related to one or more genetic mutations that allow normal cells to become malignant by interfering with internal cellular control mechanisms, such as programmed cell death or by preventing ...Read more


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What does a pet scan with cancer look like?

What does a pet scan with cancer look like?

Hypermetobolic: A pet scan will show increased metabolic activity or a area of locality that is different from surrounding tissue indicating area concerning for cancer. ...Read more

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Should a pet scan show any cancer?

Should a pet scan show any cancer?

Glucose: Pet scan relies on the theory that tumors utilize a significant amount of glucose. Many different types of cancer can show up on pet scan but certain types of cancer are much more FDG avid. Low grade tumors usually have much less uptake than high grade tumors. In addition, mucinous neoplasms often do not have much FDG uptake. Small size tumors or micrometastases also may not show up on pet. ...Read more

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On a pet scan, are the dark areas cancer?

On a pet scan, are the dark areas cancer?

Yes and no: Areas with cancer are usually hypermetabolic in a pet scan due to the increased uptake of the radioactive glucose by cancerous cells. Looking at an FDG pet scan alone, you can grossly see "dark" areas in the brain, heart, kidneys and bladder and these are due to physiologic distribution/excretion of fdg. Not all "dark" is cancer and cancer is often but not always "dark". ...Read more

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Should pet scans continue to be part of cancer surveillance?

Should pet scans continue to be part of cancer surveillance?

Yes: Not every cancer should be followed with pet/ct. But when the cancer is visible by this technology, it is often helpful in treatment planning and follow up. Here is link: http://www. Petscaninfo. Com/zportal/portals/pat/cancer. ...Read more

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Could a pet scan detect ovarian cancer?

Could a pet scan detect ovarian cancer?

Possibly: If tumor metabolically active will pick up isotope f18 FDG, analog of glucose. Imaging with pet ct will detect abnormality. Most malignant tumors are active, but not all. ...Read more

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My husband had colon cancer, had a colon resection and chemo. He has had 2 pet scans since. Churining?

My husband had colon cancer, had a colon resection and chemo. He has had 2 pet scans since. Churining?

A PET scan is: The most expensive imaging test. Using it to routine follow up can be justified if it alters care. Usually there is a defined course (# of cycles) and re-staging is done regularly with ct scans. Many insurers engage "pre-approval" screening to prevent over use. There are second and third line treatments for recurrent colon cancer, but ct scans do a good job of picking this up. ...Read more

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Why do some cancers have a high uptake on pet scan and some low?

Why do some cancers have a high uptake on pet scan and some low?

Uptake on PET: The uptake of 18F-FDG by tissues is a marker for the tissue uptake of glucose, which in turn is closely correlated with certain types of tissue metabolism. Tumors in general are more metabolically active than normal tissues and this difference in uptake is what makes PET scans possible. Tumors that have a higher metabolic rate will have more FDG uptake. Tumors that are less active havel less. ...Read more

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If a pet scan indicates cancer but biopsy is normal, could I still have cancer?

If a pet scan indicates cancer but biopsy is normal, could I still have cancer?

PET is not 100%: The distribution and intensity of hyper-metabolic activity appearance on a pet/ct scan could be abnormal and may represent malignancy but is not pathognomonic and may also represent inflammation, infection or granulomatous disease. If biopsy is correctly done, results of direct tissue are usually more certain. However, short interval follow-up with pet/ct is often recommended. ...Read more

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On a pet scan does a lower SUV uptake meAn less aggressive cancer? The SUV uptake was 5.2,

On a pet scan does a lower SUV uptake meAn less aggressive cancer? The SUV uptake was 5.2,

No: SUV has no bearing on the aggressiveness of the cancer. It is a relative measure of the glucose metabolism. In fact, some very aggressive tumors have no FDG uptake at all. Some benign conditions like infection can have high uptake. The standard uptake value depends on many factors like patient body size and serum glucose level and the normal uptake in the tissue surrounding the target lesion. ...Read more

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Not long ago I had a pet scan done, one lympnode lit up, it was light. I want to know if that still means cancer.?

Not long ago I had a pet scan done, one lympnode lit up, it was light. I want to know if that still means cancer.?

Possibly: The purpose of a PET scan is to evaluate the extent of a cancerous process and see if before treatment there are several sites to be concerned about. After treatment to see if there is residual disease that may not have responded properly. If a node lights up it may suggest that there is still remaining disease. ...Read more

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Is it better that the SUV Max on a pet scan is lower than higher? Does this mean the cancer Is less aggressive and less active What is the highest it can be!

Is it better that the SUV Max on a pet scan is lower than higher? Does this mean the cancer Is less aggressive and less active What is the highest it can be!

SUV: SUV refers to amount of metabolic activity (glucose uptake) and often corresponds to tumor grade. Lower is usually better. A higher tumor grade usually has higher SUV. SUVs can be very high. There is no exact cutoff. ...Read more

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What does a cancer free pet scan show? When a pet scan shows that a person is cancer free, does that really mean they're done with cancer? Is it cured? Are there any general statistics for a person who had cancer, but a pet scan later showed that the canc

What does a cancer free pet scan show? When a pet scan shows that a person is cancer free, does that really mean they're done with cancer? Is it cured? Are there any general statistics for a person who had cancer, but a pet scan later showed that the canc

PET: Pet scans are used for diagnosis, staging, and restaging of certain kinds of cancers such as lung, colorectal, esophageal, and head and neck cancers, and for monitoring response to therapy in breast cancer. Different kinds of cancers behave differently, and there is no guarantee that a given cancer is completely "cured, " even following complete remission. In general, evidence of a complete remission on a pet scan is a very favorable prognostic sign, and indicates that treatment was successful. Followup pet scans are still performed at regular intervals, often for the patient's lifetime, in order to monitor for any possible recurrence that might require new treatment. In general, if follow-up pet scans continue to show no evidence of disease over a period of many years, the likelihood of recurrence is low. ...Read more

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Are pet scans used for ovarian cancer?

Are pet scans used for ovarian cancer?

Not to diagnose: Pet/ct is not typically used to diagnose ovarian cancer, but may play a role in surgical planning or treatment followup. ...Read more

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Are bright orange spots on pet scan cancer?

Are bright orange spots on pet scan cancer?

Tricky: Not all cancers are bright on pet scans and not all bright activity in a pet scan is cancer. Inflammation/infection can also show bright activity. Pet scans are performed in conjugation with ct (pet/ct) and though pet is great for detecting metabolism, its specificity is not as great. Reading a pet requires care/skill. Normal activity is seen in the brain, heart, liver, spleen, kidneys, bladder. ...Read more

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Do pet scans show lung cancer?

Do pet scans show lung cancer?

Sort of...: The pet scan non-specifically show very metabolically active (consuming lots of energy), and lung cancer and its metastasis fit that category. It is not specific. Benign conditions like sarcoid can also make pet studies glow very brightly as well. Slow growing lung cancer, broncheoalveolar may not be pt avid. ...Read more

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Can you tell me how pet scan reveal information about cancer spread?

Can you tell me how pet scan reveal information about cancer spread?

Radioactive sugar: A PET scan looks for areas in the body that are using more sugar than other areas. The only way to "see" the sugar is to label it with a short-lived radioactive tag. Areas that are much brighter on the scan than others can indicate areas of tumor, though inflammation and infection can also light up (sometimes to a lesser degree). Details of the clinical scenario should be provided when ordered ...Read more

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What to do if I had a pet scan yesterday. I have cervical cancer right after the scan?

What to do if I had a pet scan yesterday. I have cervical cancer right after the scan?

Follow drs. Protocol: If metabolically active and of significant size tumor of cervix and metastases would likely be recognized on pet scan. Tumor does not arise in one day. Microscopic small lesions detected by pap smear are not likely recognized on pet scan. Treatment is determined by physician taking care of you. ...Read more

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After cancer surgery I had 2 clear pet scans. Nw after 5 yrs the pet scan is abnormal. Possible causes?

Not enough info...: It is possible to have an abnormal scan at 5 years but I do not know enough about your history and what was abnormal in this scan. There are many sources of false positive on pet scan but without seeing your images or reports and without your exact history it is difficult to determine what the status is. ...Read more

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I had a total thyroidectomy due to suspicious nodules. The patho report showed a small 8mm cancer. Will I need to do a pet scan yearly for 5 yrs?

I had a total thyroidectomy due to suspicious nodules. The patho report showed a small 8mm cancer. Will I need to do a pet scan yearly for 5 yrs?

Maybe all done.: You had a total thyroidectomy for a microcarcinoma. Depending upon what the pathology showed, you are done. You can be followed by an endocrinologist who will be able to use a blood test, serum thyroglobulin, to screen for residual/recurrent disease. However, you should understand the nature of your cancer and any other findings in your thyroid outside of the cancer for best follow up care. ...Read more

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Mediastinal, bilat hilar & virchow nodes, post cancer 1a. Healtap dr say biopsy/pet scan. My onc dr: if they want u to have that, tell them to do it.

Your doc knows you: Your doctor knows you. No healthtap doctor or other online site knows you the same. There are likely to be many missing details in a short comment like the one you posted. It is imperative to meet with your doctor and ask him/her to explain your illness so you understand it best. If you can't get a satisfactory explanation, it may be useful to get a second opinion. Good luck! ...Read more

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Odds of pet scan missing bone cancer?

Odds of pet scan missing bone cancer?

Yes: Pet measure metabolic activity and yes they miss bone tumour and metastasis if small, not much metabolic activity and bone scan, MRI is better. ...Read more

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Are small liver nodules less than 1cm cancer, didn't show on pet scan?

Are small liver nodules less than 1cm cancer, didn't show on pet scan?

Need more info: I would say unlikely if pet/ct liver was negative, but I need to know more about your mediacl history and other tests/treatments you may have had. ...Read more

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How soon after colon cancer resection should I have a pet scan?

How soon after colon cancer resection should I have a pet scan?

Do u need one?: Not every patient who's had colon cancer (or any other cancer, for that matter) needs routine ct or pet scans. It depends a lot on the stage of the cancer and any other factor that would make your doc concerned about spread. This is a great question that would be best answered by the doc who knows your situation the best. I wish you success. ...Read more

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Could I have a pet scan to check for colon cancer instead of having a colonoscopy?

Could I have a pet scan to check for colon cancer instead of having a colonoscopy?

I agree, No: Pet-ct scans are typically used after a diagnosis of cancer to look for other spread of the tumor. If you are looking for an alternative to routine colonoscopy, ct-colonography or virtual colonoscopy is an option. This still involves a bowel prep but requires no sedation. If something is found, you may still need a colonoscopy. Insurance companies are not quite on-board paying for this as yet. ...Read more

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Had a pet scan for breast cancer, showed fluid on the lung?

Had a pet scan for breast cancer, showed fluid on the lung?

Yes it can show: Pet scan also will have superimposed very high resolution ct scan images will show, now need additional test to find out the nature of fluid. ...Read more

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Clear pet scan with metastatic cancer, what does it mean?

Clear pet scan with metastatic cancer, what does it mean?

PET scan: Pet scans are often used to look for metastatic disease and a clear scan means no obvious disease noted, a good sign but does not always guarantee one is disease free. ...Read more

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Pet scan show hot spots in lymph nodes. Is this definately cancer?

Pet scan show hot spots in lymph nodes. Is this definately cancer?

Unknown: "hot spots" (increased uptake of a radioactive glucose analog) can be due to cancer, but also infection and inflammation. This needs further evaluation and possibly biopsy. ...Read more

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I have a 2 CM nodule and smaller nodules in my lungs. Will be getting a pet scan. How quickly will it spread if it's cancer?

Depends: Cancers spread at different rates. Small cell cancer spreads quickly. Treatment also affects the rate of spread. If the pet scan is positive next step is biopsy. ...Read more

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Following cancer surgery I had 2 clear pet scans. Now after 5 yrs the pet scan is abnormal. What can be the reason, what to do?

Following cancer surgery I had 2 clear pet scans. Now after 5 yrs the pet scan is abnormal. What can be the reason, what to do?

Abnormal PET....: It is difficult to say without knowing your exact history. What type of cancer was it? Was the pet performed at the same institution and interpreted by the same person? Abnormal pet could mean recurrence but without the report it is difficult to say. There are many causes of false positive on pet. Please look further into this calmly and discuss with your doctor to understand the details. ...Read more

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In a patient who has a very fast growing/high metabolic activity cancer, how small a tumor can be detected on a high-res pet scan?

In a patient who has a very fast growing/high metabolic activity cancer, how small a tumor can be detected on a high-res pet scan?

1-2 centimeters: The sensitivity of pet scanning (in combination with ct) is dependent on the origin and metabolic activity of the cancer and the part of the body that is being scanned. In general, most 2 cm cancers will be identified; as many as 1/3 of all cancers less than 1cm may be missed. ...Read more

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If insurance won't cover pet scan are there other good options to see how far cancer has spread? We know it is stage 4 nsclc adenocarcinoma.

IV Contrast Chest CT: Contrast enhanced ct of the chest and abdomen is a good choice to evaluate for interval changes. ...Read more

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What to do if I have a 2cm nodule and smaller nodules in my lungs, going in tomorrow for a pet scan. If this is cancer, how quickly will it spread?

What to do if I have a 2cm nodule and smaller nodules in my lungs, going in tomorrow for a pet scan. If this is cancer, how quickly will it spread?

Need evaluation: Proceed with PET scan. ultimately you would need to have a biopsy of the lung mass to establish a diagnosis. If you smoke, please quit. God only knows how quickly it will spread. Having said that- it will depend of the biology of the cancer- some cancers are indolent/slowly growing, and others are aggressive. PET scan will show if there is any other suspicious area- lymph nodes or organs. ...Read more

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Incidental finding of rt hiler mass, pet scan showed suspicious for malignancy. Bronchoscope shows no cancer Wednesday. Tissue samples taken. Now what?

It depends: If the bronchoscopic biopsy showed a specific benign process that could account for the PET finding, you have an answer. If not, you might need to have another biopsy by a different method. ...Read more

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Is a pet scan used for colon cancer detection instead of a colonoscopy?

No: Pet scans are used for staging cancer (assess if it has spread to other tissues), not for screening. ...Read more

Dr. Guido Davidzon
292 Doctors shared insights

Pet Scan (Definition)

Pet scans most often use a radioactive form of glucose, the energy source for most of the cells in our bodies. The pet scanner can detect and measure how much of the radioactive glucose analog, f-18 fdg, is in a particular organ or region. The areas using more glucose are hyper metabolic and generally more worrisome. Our brains and sometimes hearts prefer glucose as food, making ...Read more