Pet scan vs MRI

Hi All

I finished all my treatment last week :slight_smile: I got my letter for my MRI today in the post for 3months time.
When I spoke to my consultant last I asked him would I not be better getting a pet scan over an MRI and he no that an MRI would show everything and a pet scan was just for planning purposes.However when I was first diagnosed and got an MRI there was no lymph node’s involvement yet after the pet scan there was four Lymh nodes involved so this leads me to believe that a pet scan shows much more then A MRI.

Just want to check with everyone when they got there first three months Scan done after treatment was it a pet scan or a MRI?

Thanks ladies,

Hi Laura,

I'm not sure why different doctors choose various paths. I had a pet scan and mri for planning purposes. I had a few more MRIs throughout treatment. For my 3 month check up they did a pet and mri and I have another pet scheduled next week. 

I do know there are concerns with the pet scans as they contain radiation. My doctors explained they don't want to do them unless they're necessary. That being said, I'm not sure why I'm having another. 

I personally prefer the pet because it is my understanding they do pick up more than the mri. I suggest asking your doctor directly so they can explain their perspective and that may ease your mind!

Hi Laura

I had the same issue - my diagnostic MRI didn't show up lymph node involvement, but a later PET did. My consultant at the time did say that, having seen exactly which node was affected on the PET, they could then tell it on the MRI with hindsight. I was anxious about relying on an MRI post-treatment, particularly because of lymph involvement and in the end my consultant said he'd book a PET rather than MRI to draw a line in the sand under it. Unfortunately it hasn't done that, as a very small area of unusual activity showed up on my cervix. My consultant and gynae nurse say this isn't uncommon, as the PET shows activity in cells, as opposed to the MRI which shows actual mass/changed shape/size, etc. Activity could be scar tissue forming, or continued radiation effects, and the PET can't tell them that. Obviosuly, because it could be residual cancer cells I now need further tests - which mean further discomfort and anxiety for me and further cost to the NHS. I guess this is why MRIs are usually used for the first 3 month scan, particularly in cases where it is highly unlikely that there is residual disease. I'm now due to have an MRI in the next few weeks - my nurse pointed out that it will be compared to other scans (from diagnosis and during treatment) so it isn't just a stand alone thing - I hadn't taken that into account when I asked for a PET. Hopefully that will confirm no residual disease, if not I'll have a biopsy. I guess I'm glad to be under close observation and I don't regret pushing for the PET, but if you trust your consultant and they are confident that the MRI is enough then I'm sure it will be - I trust mine, but he ummed and ahhd a bit when I queried MRI v PET. If they see anything suspicious they will follow up with a PET anyway.

Boundie - I think I gave such an impression of querying everything and being prone to thinking the worst, my consultant thought a thorough full body PET would finally reassure me - might that be why they've booked you in for another one?

Anne xx

Very good info Anne!

I didn't explain in my post that in Canada (or at least the cancer centre I go to) it is routine to do pet scans for each check up. They're done for most people as I understand it. I believe this happens for the first two years after and then switches to mri.


Anne and Boundie thank you so much  for the information. I hope your upcoming scans go well I'll be thinking of ye x

Hi Laura :-)

I never get either! I get plain CT scans, X-rays, blood tests and ultrasounds. 

Be lucky :-)