• Is a PET scan routinely done in the beginning stages of tests for melanoma?

    Asked by Sunnysideup on Thursday, April 11, 2013

    Is a PET scan routinely done in the beginning stages of tests for melanoma?

    I see everyone having them for most cancers, my Dr. hasn't said he wants one done yet.

    3 Answers from the Community

    • CAS1's Avatar

      You wall says you were Dx 4 months ago with Melanoma but you have not begun treatment. There is no mention of stage. What is your stage and what has been your treatment?

      What has your Dr. told you about your treatment plan? Does this plan include follow up scans or testing?

      Are you actually dx'd and are you getting any treatment?

      over 4 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      I have never had a PET scan. Lots of MRIs, w/contrast CT with and without contrast and a bones scans. I ask my oncology why no PET, his reply, was I did not need one as my cancers are only in my liver and have not spread, so we don't need more details about the rest of my body.

      over 4 years ago
    • melanomamama's Avatar

      PET scans cost thousands of dollars and involve consuming (and being injected with) a glucose based contrast that contains nuclear material. Insurance companies generally require preapproval. I am allowed periodic PET scans because I am at Stage IV where the melanoma is in me always. The scan can show when it has gathered strength and started growing in a new spot. I'm guessing that with early stage cancer, if a wide excision of the original mole has shown "clean margins," and there is no other indication the cancer has spread, that it would be difficult to qualify for periodic PET scans. I think medical caution also comes from the fact that PET scans could show false positives. PET scans show where cells are using up more glucose than surrounding areas. I understand that this can happen, not only because cancer cells actively use lots of glucose, but also after vigorous exercise, when muscles are using extra glucose while repairing themselves.
      Another word of warning about insurance. I am still paying off thousands of dollars in excess between what my insurance company paid and what the hospital billed for my PET scans. It's an ugly business. Be careful what you wish for.
      Constance Emerson Crooker

      over 4 years ago

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