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Anti-Inflamatories prior to PET Scan?

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Hi All,

I received a PM from someone wanting to know my thoughts about taking anti-inflamatories prior to PET scans. Rather than PM'ing I thought I would post here so others can voice thier opinions as well.

On my very first PET scan I had multiple "hot spots". Further testing (MRIs, etc,) had to be done to decide whether these were cancer or something else. It turned out that only 2 of these hot spots were metastases. I was disappointed that I went through the anguish and additional testing required to determine this end result.

After checking to find out how this happened I found the following:

What the PET really does is highlight areas of increased glucose uptake. These areas are suspect for cancer. The problem is that other conditions cause increased glucose uptake also. Areas of inflamation are one of the big problems. Recent or old injuries can cause hot spots too.

Therefore on all subsequent PETs I have taken ibuprofen in rather large doses for 3 days prior to the scan. My theory is that this will lessen the inflamatory processes and reduce their tendency to produce false positives on the PET. I don't believe the ibuprofen will have any effect on the glucose uptake of genuine cancer cells.

The above is just my opinion and I'm no Dr. Like so many other things in this dreadful disease we each have to make our own medical decisions. I would say that anyone else who wants to do this should inform their Dr prior to doing so (as I did). I don't want to miss any opportunity to avoid the negative effects of false positives on PET.

Best wishes to us all, Dave S

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Oddly enough, during my radiation onc. appt. yesterday, I told him I started taking several supplements, including a few anti-inflammatory supplements (Omega-3 Fish Oils, Turmeric-Curcumin and Boswellia-Boswellic). He actually wasn't receptive and said that "we don't really understand inflammation and it isn't necessarily a bad thing".

Now, I don't know what HE has been reading, but from everything I have ever read, it IS a bad thing!

I'm curious to see what everyone here has to say on the subject!

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I think it's just another example of how we must each take the ultimate responsibility for our disease and treatment. Both my radiation and medical oncologists were against my taking any kind of supplements during treatment ("we don't want you to do anything which could possibly work against our treatment").

For the first few treatments I heeded their advice. Then I convinced myself they were under-informed on the subject and from that point forward continued my supplementation through treatment. I think most Drs are not even aware of recent work suggesting that antioxidant use may actually improve the effectiveness of many kinds of treatment as well as minimizing side effects for the poor patient. How can we expect our Drs to keep up with all the new info which comes along? They may very well have even less time for research than we do. I feel that the most difficult decisions are those we have to make with incomplete information. I hate that. I do keep the Drs informed of my decisions along the way.

As much as we might wish to do so, I don't think any of us can afford to entrust all of our medical treatment decisions to our Drs.

Dave S

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Interesting article....I have long blamed my lung tumor on radiation I received for breast cancer....just seems a little too coincidental to me that I had not problem until a couple years after radiating the h**k out of my breast and that lung. Irritation, right?

On the anti-oxidant situation, I did follow the advice of my onc and refrained from anti-oxidants during chemo and also I didn't take any during radiation on the radiation onc's advice. I figured it would just be for a couple of months, and why go thru all that misery if you're going to be doing something to counteract it's effectiveness? I did start up with all kinds of them though when the treatment was over, and am still on the lookout for new information and recommendations.

Just my thoughts........

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I definitely have been interested in this inflammatory angle for some time...if you are at all interested, have your doc test your homocysteine levels...on top of this cancer, my family has early onset dementia and heart attacks, both inflammatory-related diseases.When ever I read these posts I see more about pain than problems with inflammation. In fact, after my lobectomy 3 and 3/4 years ago, I was religious about following an incredibly healthy diet with nuts for breakfast, fish a few times a week, oodles of fresh veggies and I craved things like fresh horseradish and fennel and ginger..all anti-inflammatory foods! Sounds like I was a food nut but what I realized was I actually felt great from eating things like this. But i still had this weird inflammation all around my breast whereby my breast was really swollen. I immmediately went to my OB-GYN who scared the dickens out of me saying I needed to be worked up for endometrial cancer of all things! This is merely two months post lobectomy..boy, was I scared! Talk about an inappropriate teaching hospital MD! Well, I fortunately started doing research and read up on lymph and grapeseed oil and Vit E as an inflammatory so I started taking that and I believe it helped reduce this swelling. But the best news was when a pulmonologist explained to me that if I was wearing any kind of underwire or padded bra I should braless as much as possible. It did the trick partially but I continued to have intermittent inflammatory responses.. But with all this really good eating I had oodles of energy and recovered well. .

Here's a question for John: my body truly seemed to stay swollen for the longest time...little cuts on my fingers took forever to heal...Since I regularly walked everyday for the first two years and did light weights at the Y, I noticed that my arms and pectorals would swell after light weights. I looked puffy even though I was working out...anyone else have this problem? Now everything feels more in balance but I bet there are a few people out there who notice that they get cuts easily...I always carry polysporin for all these nicks. I just never hear of others with this tendency to heal slower even though I had been eating a diet full of anti-inflammatories.


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Again I am not a Dr, but Lymphedema I think can sometimes happen after surgery. When lymph nodes are removed, it can interrupt the flow of the lymph

Maybe you could ask the Dr about this. Good luck. Almost 4 years is a great!!!!

I would talk to a Dr, there are a lot of causes - diabetes (failure for cuts to heal / thirst)


Take care

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