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PET Scan impressions


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Just received results through email of my PET scan. Don’t see the doctor until Friday. Does any of this mean anything bad enough to worry about?


1. 1.5 cm lymph node in the AP window with increased metabolic uptake compatible with metastatic disease.

2. 1 cm nodule in the left lingula with increased metabolic uptake possible primary or metastatic disease.

Is this saying it’s cancer or just a chance, or is it probably just nothing? 

The SUV was 3.6 on the lymph node and 3.8 on the nodule if that means anything



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Welcome here.  In answering your question, keep in mind that I am not a doctor, just a lung cancer survivor who's had too many PET and CT scans!  So, I could be wrong.

Here is a reference on Standard Uptake Values (SUV).  This reference cites a benign/malignant cut off range of 2.0 to 2.5 and your report has SUVs higher than this.  So it may be cancer.  Strange that a PET would be your first test, and that you'd get email results before your doctor consultation.  Normally, doctors explain test reports that could be indicators in person.  That is because PET SUVs vary from person to person. For example, if you've had a recent chest cold, the uptakes might be higher than normal. Moreover, both nodules are small and SUVs can be tricky on small nodules.  Did you have a combination PET - CT scan?  The CT information in parallel with the PET might be more precise.

However, having said all of that, the only way I know of to achieve certainty about a lung cancer diagnosis is with a tissue biopsy.  That may likely be the next step your doctor recommends. Take some time between now and Friday to read about diagnostic imaging.  Here is a good resource.  Here is a useful list of questions you might want to ask of your doctor to clarify the test results and next steps.

As you read in, if you have questions, just ask away.  

Stay the course.




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Thank you for the information you’ve provided. I actually found 1 nodule on accident during a CT scan, had a second CT scan to get a better view. Then the PET scan. Our hospital sends all tests results to patients after 3 days. My doctor was on vacation, so he hasn’t even seen the results yet. I did check, and was told no results can be given over the phone, so I’ll wait for Friday when I see him. 

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