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PET Scan Completed


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Thanks to Fay A. for remembering my wife's PET scan and thanks to ALL for the kind words of support. My wife has finally reached her endpoint with tests and these PET scan results ( along with the Tarceva ) MUST offer some encouragement or she plans to stop tx. The PET scan went off w/o a hitch. I have a copy of the films. Now the hard part. Waiting another couple of days for the radiology report. I wanted to make a couple of comments and inquiries about the PET scan films and would like some opinions from those of you that have had a PET scan, have seen your films and the rad report. Just to look at the films I'm not very impressed. Four sheets of snapshots. Two sheets devoted to the torso. Two sheets to the head ( ~ eye level to ~ clavicle ). Not sure why so much film was used for these head shots. Nothing really to see and the brain portion is just blackened in. Is this pretty standard image selection for a PET ? OVERALL the PET scan films are grainy with very little crisp detail ( unlike an MRI ). I assume that the radiologist uses a viewing machine that allows for lighting adjustments, focus, zooming, etc ? The sequence of photos on each sheet fade in and then gradually fade out. Also, if you look at the snapshots there are obvious blackened areas. Some more solid black than others and some of these areas appear to correspond with anatomy that is suppose to be sensitive to uptake in a normal PET scan. I see solid black areas that corresponds with the pericardium and urinary bladder. I see partially blackened spotty areas that would correspond with the kidneys. It gets real tricky when you see a black streak or spot on an organ like the liver that's supposedly sensitive to uptake in a normal PET scan but can also contain cancer. This is my wife's situation. BTW, somebody mentioned that PET scans can't pick up small tumors / nodules. Sounds like the same limitation as with CT scans ? Is this true ? The one landmark that I can easily spot ( unfortunately ) is my wife's primary tumor in her upper left lung. No way to measure it's ~ size since these are wallet size snapshots but to look at it relative to the left lung and other structures I'd say that it's ~ the same size as the previously reported ~ 2.4 ~ 2.6 cm. I see some other small spots and marks within her torso. Various shades of darkness / grey. I suppose that this is where the radiologist's expertise really comes into play. BTW, there is a triangular shaped gray image midpoint on the inner edge of my wife's right lung. Sound familiar ? I'm guessing that this is her port-a-cath. I see a couple of black dots in her pelvic area and part of a couple of her vertebrate appear darker than others. Thanks again for the words of support and TIA for any PET scan opinions that you care to offer. Good , bad or indifferent I will post the PET scan results when they are released.

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I read somewhere, can’t remember where, that an SUV of four or lower is indicative of a benign tumor ( nodule?) Might be why they aren’t picked up? Another point I forgot about. The Tech, got a little upset because I was reading while I was waiting for the stuff to absorb through my body prior to the scan, meaning, maybe, that anything other than “at rest/ relaxation” or being stressed” can cause a bias uptake.

I don’t envy your trying to view the PICs, I was viewing standard chest X-rays at 80MPH and couldn’t understand why I so quickly devolved a tumor in the opposite lung. After that I realized that I need to consider the source of my diagnosis’s. Still worth reading though.

I would think that the Rad would have the report today.

Hope your wife is feelig well

Good luck.


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Bill, all I have to add is that the PET scan is read in full color by the radiologist, so at the very least they've got an advantage you don't have in trying to make heads or tails of what you have. I'm sure they've got alot more toys to use as well.

Also, about the brain: I remember Dave's most recent PET scan a few months ago, it was right around the time the neurosurgeon was trying to determine whether his pea brain was radiation neucrosis or tumors. The oncologist ordered the PET scan and the radiation oncologist, who got the scan first, hoped it showed uptake in the brain, but apparently there are two different ways of doing the PET scan, one shows uptake in the brain and one doesn't. unfortunately, the uptake one had to be "special requested" which the oncologist didn't do, so it didn't tell them anything new about what as going on in his brain. I sure hope this paragraph makes sense.

I would just sit tight and wait for the interpretation and diagnoses. it's hard to do.


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Hi Bill: It is understandable that you would pore over and ponder these films while you wait for a report. I did the same thing. I guess it helped me pass the time while I was waiting.

As I recall, the dark areas show uptake. The brain and bladder always show uptake, because of the higher metabolism in these areas.

I have read that an uptake of 2.5 is borderline for malignant. That is what I had for a tumor on my last PET scan. I ended up having a biopsy of the tumor which led to a pneumectomy.

I have had 2 PET scans in the last year and a half. My experience has been that the radiologist will have a recent ct scan on hand and compare it to the PET scan when reading the films.

My last ct scan picked up a nodule that was 12 mm in size. An earlier ct scan identified that same structure when it was 9 mm in size. It was not certain then that it was a tumor (at 9 mm). As I recall, 9 mm would have been too samll for a PET scan to see it. As it was, at 12 mm, it was probably borderline for uptake because of its size. At biopsy, it was 15 mm.

I hope the report brings you encouraging news.

Don M

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