• Has anyone had a PET scan "light up" for something other than cancer?

    Asked by Steph921 on Wednesday, April 10, 2013

    Has anyone had a PET scan "light up" for something other than cancer?

    After chemo and bilatteral mascetomy and while planning for radiation they saw something in the scan and sent me for a PET scan. My onc said it was cancer and uncurable but manageable with chemo for the rest of my life. He then encouraged me to go to MD Anderson, which I did. The onc there said she couldn't tell for sure if it was cancer or not. I'm going back next week for a biopsy, scary because it's a lymph node near my heart. Has anyone had this happen and it turn out not to be cancer? I'm afraid to get my hopes up too much only to be let down. Whew! This cancer business in an emotional roller coaster!!! Thanks everyone for your answers and support!!

    7 Answers from the Community

    7 answers
    • CAS1's Avatar

      Yes Pet scans are ultra sensitive. Could be anything. Don't be worried that its a lymp near your heart thats nothing. They can do radiation and blast the XXX out if it. There have been many many cases where radiation and herceptin toghter have cured BC mets to all diffrent parts of the body.

      Meditate and calm yourself you are in the best hands possible at MD.

      over 3 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      Hugs, what a stressful time this most be. I'm praying that the biopsy comes back negative. The waiting and the uncertainty is the worst. In addition to mediation try to do more things that you enjoy, get a massage, love and take care your yourself.

      over 3 years ago
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      My dad had a little chest cold when he went in for one of his scans. It showed up in his lung and lymph nodes as increased metabolic activity, then on the next scan disappeared. On his previous cancer, a spot showed up on his adrenal gland also. A biopsy showed it to be nothing.

      over 3 years ago
    • CAS1's Avatar

      Listen there are more False positives on Pet scans than actual cancer. Its only one tool used.

      over 3 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar

      Steph, PET scans see metabolic activity not cancer. Cancer tends to be more active thus it "lights up" on a PET scan but there are a number of other things that light up just like cancer. Infections and healing wounds are just a couple of things that light up on PET scans. The Dr at MD Anderson is right to get a biopsy to determine if it really is cancer or not. Even if it is cancer there a number of things that can be done to treat it and possibly even cure it. So you can hope that it is either not csancer or that they can successfully treat it. MD Anderson is probably the best place you can be seen at right now for this conditiion. Good Luck and let us know how it turns out.

      over 3 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      You have gotten some good answers here. Let me try to clarify a few. It is true that a PET measures metabolism, but it does also detect cancer and in oncology, that is its main indication. Sugar molecules are attached to a radio isotope, and the hardest working cell will eat the most sugar because it is using so much energy. That radio isotope and sugar combination is referred to as FDG dye. how aggressive a cell takes up that dye is measured, and the measurement is referred to as SUV or Standardized Uptake Value. That rating is between 1-15. A 1 is the uptake of a normal cell. 1-2.5 is a precancerous cell, displasia, a polyp, cyst, or some scar tissue. Anything above a 2.5 is considered a malignancy. If something lights up but its SUV score is below a 2.5 then it is probably not a malignancy. I hope this clarifies a PET somewhat. Best of luck to you, Carm RN.

      over 3 years ago
    • HeidiJo's Avatar

      I had a PET scan halfway through my treatments and some of the nodes did not change in size at all. so they told me the chemo wasn't working, I was heart broken. My oncologist told me I needed a stem cell transplant and sent me to Dana Farber. The wonderful doctors there told me I needed a biopsy through a thorassic surgeon (not an easy procedure!) so they could find out exactly what they were dealing with. It turned out to be Sarcoids, an auto immune that shows up exactly the same as Lymophoma on the PET scan! So I had Sarcoids and Lymphoma (they rechecked the origional biopsy) What a rollercoaster! We were greatly relieved that I didn't need a stem cell transplant.

      over 3 years ago

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