CT scan, MRI or PET scan, which is the best ?

Ladies, it is the first time I have asked a question on this site but would love some input re your views on the above.

My cancer marker has been rising all year despite shrinkage of tumours. What in your opinion gives the best results as to what is going on inside ? My GP and Oncologist always say a CT scan, but I hear so many of you talking about PET scans and this is something I have never had.

I should really know the answer with all the treatment and scans I have had over the last 5+ years, but when I have my next scan, which could be soon, I want the one that will give the best picture of what is happening inside me.

Anna xx

10 Replies

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  • Hi Anna

    I was told that an MRI can give more information ( in many cases) than a CT scan.Our hospital does not have a PET scanner.

    I hope things work out for you.

    Take care

    Charlie xx

  • Hi Anna

    I had an MRI when they wanted to check my spine but mostly I have CT scans. They have limitations but so far they show enough and last time I got to look at it and could see the tumour and other structures. Fascinating! I too want to know what a PET scan is!

  • I believe a PET scan shows metabolic activity so highlights areas where cancer cells are active in the body. They are not widely used in the UK- due to cost I suppose but they can be a better predictor of cancer activity than a CT scan. I'm going to ask my oncologist about one on Monday although our local hospital doesn't have one. I guess it's possible to pay for a private one if you think if might help.

  • Hi Anna,

    As Heffmeister says, I was told it could show pre tumour activity and 'hot spots'. I guess they are hoping to see what is causing the raised CA125 as they can not find any tumours developing at the moment.

    So far I have used Kidderminster (CT and MRI scans, bloods and chemo), Worcester (to be drained before my op) and New Cross (for my de-baulking/laparotomy) Hospitals, but I understand I would need to go to the Queen Elizabeth in Birmingham to have a PET scan so they are not 10 a penny.

    Love Lizzie

    X

  • From my experience this is the order of scans for detail. I believe the first one is the least detailed and the last the most detailed.

    1) Ultrasound (uses sound waves and so completely safe)

    2) CT scan (uses radiation)

    3) MRI scan (uses magentism and is safe)

    4) PET scan (uses radiation)

  • I`m not sure where this idea came from but someone told me that you are only allowed ONE MRI scan in your life, please tell me this is not correct?

    I mean if it`s safe I cannot think of a reason why? other than cost and that would be so not acceptable, would it?

    I do know they don`t like to give too many CT scans because of radiation as that in itself will increase our cancer risk, my oncologist told me this.

    I think MRI scans are used to check out the skeletal, ie; bone cancer.

    I have heard about pet scans but don`t know of anyone who has had one.

    May I just say that ultrasound and CT scans sometimes show things up to be much worse than they actually are, or at least that was in my case.

    Thats all I know about scans I`m afraid ladies.

    love from Tina x

  • Ladies,

    Thanks for your input.

    I have a friend in Portugal with o/c who always has PET scans, I had MRI in the early stages but since then have only had CT scans.

    Tina I have had quite a few MRI scans, one on my back, Achilles tendon and with my cancer, so I think what you have heard is incorrect. I know they don't like doing the CT scans too regularly because of the radiation.

    I was just interested if any of you knew which gave the best result. I think after a bad night on Wed crippled with pain again in my tummy, very bloated and the most horrendous sickness, the Dr was concerned about a bleeding stomach initially, I shall have a chat to my Oncologist and see what his thoughts are on CT virus PET. They have assured me there is no fluid there and I am certain there isn't, it appears to be purely gas and stomach cramping. My Onc. suggests a sensitivity to Carboplatin.

    Anna xx

  • Hi Anna

    So sorry to hear you have been suffering. Its not easy is it?! I hope they get to the bottom of it quickly for you. I guess they will have to pair the Avastin with another drug if it turns out you are sensitive to Carboplatin. Its the process of working that out that might be tricky.

    On the subject of scans I feel just as stupid - I should know by now. All I can say is that the RM have favoured MRI with me as it gives a clear picture of the blood vessels supplying the tumours. The trial drug I am on targets these blood vessels so the scan results will show how well its working.

    Really hope you feel better soon.

    Love Sarah

  • Hi Sarah,

    Tummy still very sore, just as though someone has kicked me in the stomach.

    The oncologist was considering doing a stand alone chemotherapy without Avastin if the CA 125 is up, with the chance of going back on Avastin if things work out OK.

    It is interesting to hear everyone's comments re the various scans. I too should know by know after over 5 years with treatment, but I hear so many different stories. Mine are done privately, but my treatment is on the Spanish healthcare system, so for me I am sure there is no problem with financing, the Insurance company have always been very accommodating with my cancer treatment. I ended up on the Spanish healthcare system as the Insurance company couldn't, by law, pay for my treatment as it isn't registered for ovarian cancer with the European Medicines Agency.

    Anna xx

  • I've had all three, and it seems that the PT or PET scan was prefered though hard to get approval as it is so expensive. I am waiting for approval to get one to determine the success of my chemo.

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