• LMM's Avatar

    I have another question, lymph nodes. If lymph nodes appear abnormal in a pet scan how can docs tell if cancer is there, do they biopsy the

    Asked by LMM on Sunday, January 13, 2013

    I have another question, lymph nodes. If lymph nodes appear abnormal in a pet scan how can docs tell if cancer is there, do they biopsy the

    Nodes? Can chemo do anything once in the nodes? I did ask my doc about it but he said he needed more test. I am just trying to figure out what I am up against. I know many of you have traveled this road and may have advice. Thank you.

    12 Answers from the Community

    12 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      A PET scan highlights areas of high metabolic activity. Since lymph nodes are generally not the primary cancer site, a lymph node dissection is typically done in conjunction with surgery on the primary site and lymph nodes examined to determine if the primary cancer has metastasized to near by lymph nodes. Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment intended to kill cancer cells anywhere in the body.

      over 5 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      Lymph nodes lit up on MRI, so they were biopsied....positive for cancer...so when they did my bilat, on the BC an axillary dissection was done....8/12 nodes were positive for cancer....so following chemo, rads were indicated...no sure what this means for anal cancer, but for me with breast cancer, it added radiation to my Tx regimine...

      over 5 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      I believe the only way to know for sure if the nodes are cancerous is to biopsy and/or remove the suspected nodes and have a pathologist examine them. Chemo will treat nodes anywhere in your body. Radiation will treat the nodes in the region being treated.

      over 5 years ago
    • liznparadise's Avatar

      In my last PET scan it showed enlarged lymph node and activity in the left breast area. Since I had anal cancer, this would not be from that. My mammogram showed nothing and breast exam doesn't detect any lump. They decided it could have been from the removal of the port. Sometimes it may not be anything significant.

      over 5 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar

      I am unable to answer your question but I can tell you what the lymph nodes do in your body. They are like scullery maids and garbage collectors. They filter the blood, entrapping used and dead white cells, pollutants, and other things the body either does not need or does not want. Think of them like the strainer in your kitchen sink.

      They are also garbage collectors in that they collect the trash and send it out with the trucks for expusion (through your sweat, your anal canal, out your nose or your tear ducts or where ever it deems best).

      Just like the kitchen sink strainer, they can get clogged and you need to clean them up some. You notice this when they appear swollen.

      There is such a thing as a lymph massage to get the strainers clear again. It is a very very light touch and seems to get the clogs resolved and the lymph moving stuff through again.

      You can also use a poultice of, believe it or not, carrot pulp. They use carrot to clean fields which have been polluted with toxins. Carrot can certainly help you too. The carrot is extremely absorbent.

      Mash up uncooked carrot (run through a juicer or a food processor) with its juice and spoon into a thin linen cloth or cheesecloth or, in a pinch, paper towels. Fold up like an envelope, protect your bed and pillow with plastic sheeting, lay down and place the envelope of carrot on the front of your neck. You will, amazingly, feel heat rising which is the carrot in action. Lay for about 20 minutes, if possible. No harm done if you fall asleep. Store the carrot envelope in the fridge and reuse as desired anytime within 24 hours. After that, discard the carrot.

      You will feel better and the lymph swelling, if present, will go down.

      More often than not, the lymph traps cancerous cells rather than is the cause of growing cancer.

      You have lymph nodes all over your body. Radiation to any particular area will destroy those in that area.

      I think your doctor is a jerk for not sharing with you what information he does have .. or you were cowed and foolish for not demanding his best professional opinion at the time.

      Be strong.

      over 5 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar

      I am banging my head against the wall. The XXX in my post above covered the word j e r k.

      over 5 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar


      Geekling has touched on something I feel is important for us all to consider and remember. Our drs have a lot of patients to see. We have to push for answers much of the time, not trust that they will fill us in on all we need to know--not necessarily because they don't care, but because we have become an assembly line. Look at the waiting room when you go to the centers, there are a lot of us. Its unreasonable to think they (drs) can be on top of each and every case even if they try to be. We owe it to ourselves to ask/demand questions and answers. Upbeat, proactive patients are much more interesting (and easier to treat) than those who expect miracles or have given up. Fight and the drs will fight with you.

      over 5 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar

      I think that often it isn't that the doctors are unwilling to share their information, often it is that they don't realize that what they said wasn't understood. This is a major reason to ask questions. If you don't ask for an explanation, the doc will assume that you know what he is saying. And, yes, a proactive patient is better patient.

      I remember when I was in college (many years ago :-) ). No matter how big the lecture hall or how many students were taking the course, every professor knew my name and face by the end of the first week because I asked questions. I always assumed that if I didn't understand, then there were others who didn't understand. I wasn't shy but I also wasn't rude. I still ask questions. Sometimes good ones, sometimes not, but I always ask if I don't understand.

      over 5 years ago
    • LMM's Avatar

      Thank you for your answers. You all are a great bunch of people.

      over 5 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      @geekling, you have to stop and really think sometimes about what will get xxx'd it's the word zar.

      over 5 years ago
    • Cajundago's Avatar

      Anyone has had non Hopkins lymphoma stage 3 multiple times and then develop small cell lung cancer along with carsinoma and melanoma

      5 months ago
    • carm's Avatar

      They can tell if there is cancer by your SUV score from the PET results. If there is cells in the regional lymph nodes...they are expected to be there because suspicious cells are deposited in the nodes by your immune system so that they can be destroyed. It us only when they are in the non regional nodes that will make it a metastatic disease.

      5 months ago

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