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Do pet scans detect chest wall recurrence

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I know pet scans aren’t super accurate for cancer recurrence in breast tissue. But are they as good or better than an oncologist manually examining a breast after mastectomy?

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  • kaynotrealname
    kaynotrealname Member Posts: 410
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    They do not do PET scans unless distant spread is suspected or if someone's cancer looks to be more advanced upon diagnosis. It's not used for monitoring purposes. The radiation exposure from a PET scan is quite high and since radiation itself is a carcinogen they are very careful in utilizing the scan.

  • waves2stars
    waves2stars Member Posts: 131
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    Thanks, but I get routine pet scans for another condition. I was just wondering if they pick up chest wall recurrence or if it is hard to detect with breast cancer. Had my six month check with my breast onc but they didn’t do a manual check this time, so I hope if anything is there it will be picked up on pet scan next month.

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 999
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    Whether or not chest wall recurrence is picked up by a PET scan depends on the contrast that is used. If I am remembering correctly (lung cancer?) the contrast might be OTL38 which does not show breast cancer. FDG is the contrast used most often for bc but that just shows areas of higher metabolic activity which could be due to infection, inflammation and arthritis as well as cancer. I'm having a PET scan using FES which is picked up by estrogen receptors because of a bone lesion in my acetabulum which the radiologists think is a met or a benign lesion that looks like one. My MO figured FDG would not be very helpful since I have so many areas of inflammation and arthritis in my body and an ortho onc is afraid a biopsy would fracture my hip. Of course, the receptors could have flipped or it might be bone cancer but it will be monitored for growth by MRI if nothing lights up. I hope your scan shows stability.

  • waves2stars
    waves2stars Member Posts: 131
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    It’s FDG but I don’t usually get contrast because of an allergy. They use contrast when there’s measurable disease. I had no idea it would show inflammation from arthritis! When is your scan? Hoping it’s just creaky bones!

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 999
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    My scan is Wednesday. I have arthritis, tendinitis, osteoporosis and other degenerative changes in the hip but they are looking at a 2.5 cm ill defined lytic lesion in the acetabulum (hip socket.) They followed up the regular 1.5T MRI with a 3T one to get a better look and got a second opinion from MSK. I never knew there were specialist bone tumor radiologists. I hope it’s not cancer but I learned the hard way that other things can wipe you out faster (hence my familiarity with pulmonology.) I celebrated my birthday in 2022 which was in doubt so every day since has been a bonus. My pulmonologist told me that if he had to figure out what my lung nodules in a difficult to access area were he would use contrast rather than biopsy which could set the fibrosis going again. I’m on board with my MO’s plan since a fractured hip could be debilitating.

  • waves2stars
    waves2stars Member Posts: 131
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    @maggie15 Thinking of you today! Hope you get your results soon!

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 999
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    Just as I was heading to the hospital they called and cancelled the PET since something happened to the contrast as it was being shipped from NYC today. Arrgh! It’s a three to four hour one way trip from my home. We are trying again on May 30.

  • waves2stars
    waves2stars Member Posts: 131
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    How frustrating!

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 999
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    Finally had the FES PET scan and the tumor in the acetabulum didn't light up. It's still an indeterminate lesion and will be followed for growth by MRI but an ER+ met is now considered unlikely. I'm happy with that.