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      07-13-2022, 12:48 AM   #23
InnerBlueSkies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zx10guy View Post
Sorry to hear about this. I'm a stage 3b colon cancer survivor. I'm not a radiologist or an oncologist but I'm very inquisitive. I've learned a lot over the years dealing with this blasted disease. My doctors talk to me on a whole different level compared to other patients because I research and ask pointed specific questions.

Anyways, CT is good for imaging abnormalities. The step of doing a PET scan is the next logical step to confirm hypermetabolic activity. Your dad is going to have to go on a specific diet before going in for the scan. Make sure he follows the instructions which is to limit starch and sugars. The PET scan uses a radioactive glucose which is injected into the person an hour before the scan is done. This allows the glucose injection a chance to circulate through out the body. The idea behind why this test is done is because cancer cells have a higher rate of metabolism than normal cells. So the cancer cells will absorb more of the radioactive glucose than the normal surrounding tissue. This is why your dad has to go on that special diet to lower the "noise" floor so the scan can be more effective. Your dad is going to have to refrain from any strenuous physical activity the day before. Also, during the time when your dad is waiting that 1 hour, he will be asked to stay still and not talk.

The PET scan machine will look just like a CT scanner. The newer PET scan machines are able to image the body much faster than the old ones of a few years ago. My first PET took well over an hour of me having to lay perfectly still. A recent PET scan only took about 20 minutes or so.

After the test is done, your dad will be asked to stay away from any children and pregnant women for 24 hours as he will be radioactive.

As far as waiting for the results, you don't have to. I tell everyone on the cancer support forums that waiting more than a day or two is foolish. Many have coined the phrase scanxiety as a description of the anxiety one experiences leading up to the scan and then waiting for the results. I have never waited more than a day for any of my scan reports. Many times, I'm able to pick up the scan report that day within a few hours of completing the scan. You just have to call the radiology office and ask if the report is ready. If it is, you go down and pick it up in person. Because you're not the patient, your dad will most likely have to go down to get it or he'll have to sign a consent to allow you to get it.

Also, ALWAYS. ALWAYS. Request a copy of the scan images on CD. This will come in handy if you have to seek a second opinion. It will cut down on any delay while the second opinion doctor's office requests the records. I've been very active about sitting down with my first oncologist in reviewing the scan images. Because he went through both the CT and PET scans with me, I know what I'm looking for when it pertains to my body. CTs are a bit tougher for me to identify anything new. I do comparisons with previous CT images I have on CD to see if anything has changed. For a PET, it's pretty easy to see if something lights up. When there is an area of hypermetabolic activity, that area will be bright red or real dark depending on which view you have activity. There will be software included on the CD for you to install so you can display the images. With the PET images, you can click on an area of hypermetabolic activity and find out what the SUV reading is. This is the measure of hypermetabolic activity. The lower the SUV the better. SUVs 3 and below are good/normal. 3 to 4/5ish are in a grey area which may warrant additional monitoring/testing. Above 5, there's a high chance of cancer. My first PET was done to rule out 2 lesions in my liver that were picked up on the CT scan as cancer. Those areas did not light up on the PET. But my primary tumor in my descending colon did light up. If I remember correctly the SUV value was 6.4.

Feel free to hit me up via PM if you want to discuss your dad's situation further. There are also a few online forums specializing in CRC. The most active with people that have a wealth of knowledge is a Facebook group called Colontown. There are other online forums such as the Colon Club and American Cancer Society. There are also a few online blogs which can be helpful.
Awesome contribution my friend. I'm going though this myself, Male 46 years old with LIKELY metastatic breast cancer...at least that is what the CT and Bone scan pointed to. Have an MRI and PET Wednesday and Friday.
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