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Pet scans and why?


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Ok so Pop has has had 4 round of chemo... they had never done a PET cause they figured from the CT that it is in the Lungs and the Liver... from what I understand a PET will show any "hot" spots out side of the problem areas that a regular CT May not "see" please tell me if I am wrong. Well they have deemed we need a "BREAK" because things are taking a huge toll on him and they thought another round of chemo may kill him.

The thing is they were very reluctant to order the PET... I am wondering WHY? to my way of thinking it would give us a clearer picture of whether or not the cancer has invaded more than say the CT can see as far as other organs or Lymph nodes. Am I correct in this thinking or am I totally in left feild?

I was thinking the PET might show if there is more Cancer involvement than we thought it would be a good way to decide if more treatment is really feasible considering his really weakened condition. or if pallative/hospice care and quality of life issues would be better instead of quantity.

the Dr explaind that they know that the cancer is where it is. so the treatment would be the same no matter what... I just want to know if he is riddled with more than is treatable and that a PET would be better.... so he ordered it mainly I think to shut me up since I have asked like 5 times LOL

anyway tell me is my thinking right or am I in left field an the Dr is placating me LOL which is fine I just trying to do the best for my DAD so barring getting a med degree in the next 30 days you guys are all I got .thanks

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A PET scan shows cell activity. Sometimes it will show cancer before it can be detected by a CT scan. I have a spot that shows on the PET scan but not the CT. The problem is if you don’t have a biopsy you do not know for sure if it is cancer. It will show hot spots anywhere in the body if it is a whole body scan.

Stay positive, :)


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I asked Harry's doctor to do a pet scan at the last visit we had with him. He agreed to do it, but I can't figure out why they don't "offer" it??? I mean, why do we have to "ask"? :?

I know it's a very expensive test, so maybe it's partially because the insurance companies don't want to pay for it..?

He told us that if they refused it- (which thankfully they didn't), that he would do a bone scan instead.

Keep bugging them about it if you feel it would help your dad feel beter.

Take care,


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ya see thats the thing the Dr finnaly agreed but with the statement of "We Know it is a stage 4 cancer with mets, so it will not really give us that much more information"..... to me that is a statement that says what we dont know wont hurt us type of thing... I would rather know that YES his body is full of cancer an while the treatment is proloinging his life there is no way short of a miracle to get all this stuff. I want to know! is it just in those few places isolated or has it spread like locusts all over the body

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PET scans do not always show just cancer. Hot spots can be infections as well. As least that's what I have been told and have learned with my PET scans.

I've had 2 PET scans and on the first one it showed a few hot spots. On the second PET scan those hot spots were gone. This was a few (2,3) years ago and I haven't had any treatment in over 11 years.

As you well know, no scan is 100%. And it may very well be insurance reasons. As Nova said, they are very expensive.

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Yup, forgot about those scary hot spots, Connie.

I did have a PET scan show a hot spot that turned out to be arthritis in my lower spine.

I also know that insurance companies have to OK the test and that depends on which insurance company you have.

A few years ago there was a news story about the doctors not ordering them and getting kick backs from some insurance companies because it saved big money but I think most of that activity is rare now days

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It would seem to me that knowing where the mets are would help to make better treatment decisions. Radiation killed the mets in Mom's spine and gave her a great deal of relief before her chemo started. I'm with you--I'd want all the information possible.

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I think that the doctor's point was that the PET scan would not change their treatment approach. He is receiving systemic treatment that attacks the cancer anywhere in the body.

But, I would like to know too if it is anywhere else besides what the ct scan shows.

I hope the mri shows no change and that your dad recovers and can soon resume treatment.

Don M

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