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Pet Scan Question


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Hello everyone. I just have a quick question. How accurate is a pet scan? Are there ever false positives for a reaccuring cancer?

Not trying to not "accept" it I just want to cover all the bases. I have a parent that had a pet scan done and showed cancer in an area close to the last time. This parent is feeling very good and we were all shocked, even their regular doctor was shocked. So I am just trying to cover all the bases.

Thank you very much,


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hi madison,

i believe pet scans are not necessarily 100% because they show any abnormality (i.e. a harmless cyst can light up for instance). it's good to have a ct/pet scan if you are going to have the pet scan so that the doctors can use the ct as a reference. pet scans tend to be helpful when they are used in comparison to earlier pet scans (to see the progress...for example, a harmless cyst may just remain the same size and in the same location, pet scan after pet scan, whereas a cancerous tumor may show shrinkage). i hope that this helps.

God bless,


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Guest bean_si (Not Active)


I've researched this quite a bit. Here are a couple links that might help:

http://intl-radiographics.rsnajnls.org/ ... ll/19/1/61


I've come to the conclusion that they are NOT accurate in telling benign from malignant. As the one article goes, there are many pitfalls. (lung after radiation scars, inflammation is difficult to tell from malignant tissue)

It seems they can show a number of false positives. Just my opinion.


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As Cat said, the PET scan can show false positives -- inflammation in particular, plus anything else anomalous. Len's PET scan showed a large area in the lower spine that really puzzled the doctors -- it was the bone growth stimulating device that was implanted there after a spinal fusion a few years ago -- and we had TOLD the PET scan people about it. They just forgot.

But obviously, anything and everything needs to be checked out. I'll be thinking of you and hoping that it's just one of those many false positives!


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