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CT scan vs PET scan
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CT scan vs PET scan

Hello Dr. Goodman,

Whats the difference between a CT scan and PET scan? My mom was diagnosed stage 2c in oct 2006 and went thru chemo (carboplatin/taxol) and has her ca125 done every 6 weeks- at 6 now and has a cCTscan every 4 months- clear to date! I was wondering if she should get a PET scan done, if it shows more detail? She has her next CT scan next week, and understand that insurance denied the possiblility of a PET scan unless it was needed. Her Gynocologist Oncologist said he didnt think there would be anything different, but thought he would see if insurance would let her have one....?

If a PET scan shows any possible new disease, why wouldnt everyone have it done instead of a PET scan?
Your thoughts?

Thanks so much,
Damon
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Dear Damon,

thank you for your question.
a PET scan is a nuclear medicine scan where a radio labeled sugar molecule (FDG) is intravenously given. Areas of active metabolism either because of infection or cancer will take up the sugar (called FDP avid on reports)

This FDG avidity combined with CT scan will pick up more areas of abnormalities.  However, CT scan alone is probably adequate especially in the setting of a normal CA 125.

So I might suggest reserving PET scan or PET-CT scan for situations of abnormal CA 125. This is a very expensive test and many insurance companies will not routinely approve it without indications.

best wishes
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