Hi !!! my mother has been detected with breast cancer and has undergone surgery 2 weeks before. Dr has adviced her PET scan. As per the PET scan Dr. the PET scan is not adviced before 6 weeks of surgery. Can she start her chemo therapies before the PET scan test? Are there other tests also instead of PET scan that can be done to detect if the disease has travleed further then the lymph nodes? Please help and advice
A PET scan is a test which can image the cellular activity of the human body. In this test glucose that contains a radioactive atom is injected into the bloodstream. Cancer cells in the body grow rapidly so they absorb large amounts of the radioactive sugar. After about an hour or so through a special camera pictures of areas of radioactivity are seen. A PET scan should be usually performed at least 4-6 weeks after surgery and 4-6 months after radiation therapy. If the test is done before this trime inflammation secondary to surgery and radiation can be seen as false positive as these tend to light up on the scan. A PET scan is indicated when there is a doubt that the cancer has spread. The picture is not finely detailed like a CT or MRI scan, but it provides helpful information about your whole body. Regarding other tests available to detect if the disease has travelled or not CT and MRI scans can be helpful but they are anatomic imaging modalities, which means that they look at the size and shape of organs and body structures while a PET scan is a metabolic imaging modality, which means it looks at cellular activity. PET scan imaging can show changes much earlier than other imaging tests like CT or MRI. Every case varies. The choice of treatment, scan, and timing of investigation all depends on the discretion of the treating doctor. You may discuss your concerns with the doctor.
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