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

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Dr. Joshua Lawson
Board Certified, Radiation Oncology
1M people helped
1

1
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

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Dr. Andrea Brand
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Dr. Guido Davidzon
259 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


Dr. Keith Blum
Board Certified, Neurosurgery
28 years in practice
24K people helped
2

2
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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Dr. Andrea Brand
Board Certified
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Dr. Paul Dorio
Board Certified, Radiology
24 years in practice
33K people helped
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3
A CT did not show the presence of cancer but a PET scan with contrast did. Why is this when they were looking for cancer within the pancreas?

A CT did not show the presence of cancer but a PET scan with contrast did. Why is this when they were looking for cancer within the pancreas?

Complementary: CT and PET are complementary and are usually used in conjunction with each other. Not uncommonly, a finding on a CT or on a PET will not be seen on the other study. Sometimes, I am asked to biopsy something only seen on PET that I have to guesstimate on the CT scan - using anatomic landmarks - because it is not visible on the CT. That's the challenge of imaging and why your radiologist is valuable ...Read more

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Dr. William Singer
Board Certified, Pediatric Neurology
45 years in practice
5M people helped
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4
Does metabolism of the brain mean cancer somewhere in your body? Dr. Said pet scan to be done to look for cancer due to brain metabolism. Confused!

Does metabolism of the brain mean cancer somewhere in your body?  Dr. Said pet scan to be done to look for cancer due to brain metabolism. Confused!

PET scan: There are many causes of abnormalities seen on pet scan. Pet scans reveal brain metabolism. Tumors can alter brain metabolism but not all causes of abnormal brain metabolism shown on pet scan are tumors. ...Read more

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Dr. Andrea Brand
Board Certified
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Dr. Joseph Accurso
Board Certified, Radiology
23 years in practice
1M people helped
5

5
Lost about 50 pounds and have tenderness on right side and small lump. Doctor ordered pet scan also said it looks like cancer thank you in advance

Complete the workup: Get the pet scan and any other labs and tests your health care provider thinks are necessary. Unexplained weight loss is a sign of cancer. Lumps and tenderness need to be explained too. Get all the information possible, perhaps including a biopsy, so a proper plan of action can be determined. ...Read more

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Dr. Guido Davidzon
Board Certified, Nuclear Medicine
12 years in practice
151K people helped
6

6
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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Dr. Brian Wosnitzer
Board Certified, Nuclear Medicine
12 years in practice
422K people helped
7

7
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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Dr. Stephen Saponaro
Board Certified, Radiology
211K people helped
8

8
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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Dr. Guido Davidzon
Board Certified, Nuclear Medicine
12 years in practice
151K people helped
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9
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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Dr. Brian Wosnitzer
Board Certified, Nuclear Medicine
12 years in practice
422K people helped
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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 !

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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Dr. Barry Rosen
3,998 doctors shared insights

Cancer (Definition)

An uncontrolled cell growth leading to invasion and metastases is what cancer is defined as. It produced abnormal growth of cells which acquire destructive properties causing serious threat to host's life, unless it can be removed or destroyed by ...Read more


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Dr. Andrea Brand
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