How Accurate Are Pet Scans?

How accurate is a PET scan in diagnosing cancer?

PET scans, short for positron emission tomography, can detect areas of cancer by taking images of the body’s cells as they work. A study suggests that FDG-PET/CT can accurately diagnose breast cancer recurrence and is more accurate than contrast-enhanced CT scans and bone scintigraphy.

Can PET scans be wrong?

The PET portion of this imaging modality relies on the accumulation of radioactive glucose analog, FDG. In cancer cells, there is an overproduction of glucose transporters and, as a result, increased FDG uptake. However, not all PET-positive lesions are cancer, and in many instances, PET findings can be false positive.

Do all cancers show up on PET scan?

Not all cancers show up on a PET scan. PET scan results are often used with other imaging and lab test results. Other tests are often needed to find out whether an area that collected a lot of radioactive material is non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant).

What does cancer look like on a PET scan?

Cancer cells show up as bright spots on PET scans because they have a higher metabolic rate than do normal cells. PET scans may be useful in: Revealing whether your cancer has spread. Checking whether a cancer treatment is working.

What cancers are not detected by PET scan?

PET scans must be interpreted carefully because noncancerous conditions can look like cancer, and some cancers do not appear on PET scans. Many types of solid tumors do appear on PET scans, including: Brain. Cervical.

Does a positive PET scan always mean cancer?

In cancer cells, there is an overproduction of glucose transporters and, as a result, increased FDG uptake. However, not all PET-positive lesions are cancer, and in many instances, PET findings can be false positive. FDG-positive lesions often mean cancer, but not always.

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What type of cancer does not show up on a PET scan?

PET scans must be interpreted carefully because noncancerous conditions can look like cancer, and some cancers do not appear on PET scans. Many types of solid tumors do appear on PET scans, including: Brain. Cervical.

What are the side effects of having a PET scan?

If undergoing a combination PET-CT scan, the iodine-based contrast dye used for the CT component can cause side effects, including nausea, vomiting, headache, itching, flushing, and mild rash. In rare cases, a serious, all-body allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis may occur.

What can give a false positive on a PET scan?

Benign tumors that result in intense FDG accumulation on PET/CT examination have been described, and these should be recognized at potential causes for a false positive diagnosis. These tumors include: fibrous mesothelioma, schwannoma, aggressive neurofibromas and enchondromas (Shreve et al, 1999).