Why a PET scan?

So last Wednesday I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Friday I had a mri scan, Monday a ct scan and I hoped that this coming Monday I would be discussed at the MDT meeting and know the stage and treatment plan. However I have spoke with my nurse this evening who says a PET scan is required before I can be discussed I am in pieces and so so worried this mean the cancer has spread and is going to be untreatable.

Why would a PET scan be needed before they can discuss and grade?

I’m in the same position I had mri and ct scan was told I have 4cm grade 1 tumour contained within cervix. I was told I was to have pet scan to check the margins to see if they can do hysterectomy. I am having scan on Wednesday don’t know why they couldn’t have done all 3 together then made the decision.

A PET scan gives different details than MRI or CT. For your PET you will be given glucose that has a radioactive dye attached to it. The PET scan measures the amount of glucose taken up by the cells in your body. Cancer cells have a higher metabolic rate than non cancerous cells and so will take up more of the radioactive glucose. So areas with cancer cells will be “brighter” on the PET scan. The PET scan can pick up smaller areas of cancer than MRI or CT and is used to check for spread especially to lymph nodes.
Try not to worry about extra scans. The doctors are trying to get as much information as possible about your cancer so they can get you the best treatment to cure it.

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A PET scan is best for showing if there’s been any metastasis to other parts of the body. I generally prefer them. In my center though they never give me a CT only, it’s always a PET-CT.

Dear Leah,

George has very perfectly explained - you want any and every possible occurrence of cancer to be found so that you can be treated and cured. The PET scan is essential to check for spread and therefore very important. Each scan tells your consultant something different - for example the MRI gives finely detailed pictures of your cervix so they know exactly where to treat. Please don’t worry about scans. Be happy they are being done and that you’re receiving the best treatment. They don’t hurt and they don’t have any lasting impact on you!

Believe me when you’ve been through all the treatment you’ll be happy any time you’re offered a scan, because all reassurance that things are being investigated is good.