February 04, 2008

PET/CT scan tomorrow

On Tuesday I have my annual PET/CT scan. Since my bony metastases have been mostly stable for more than five years, my oncologist usually orders bone scans. But once a year he orders the (more expensive) PET/CT scan. Thankfully our health insurance covers the costs of both kinds of tests. I usually have a bone scan once every 3-4 months.

The two tests give different information. According to www.webmd.com, a bone scan "is a nuclear scanning test that identifies new areas of bone growth or breakdown". As I understand it, bone scans don't differentiate between healing fractures and metastases. The PET/CT scan gives information about how rapidly cells "take up" glucose. Since cancer cells grow quickly, they will have a faster uptake.

Either way my body gets a lot of radioactive material during the course of a year. But I don't think I glow in the dark....

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