What is best Scan?: When anyone gets... - SHARE Metastatic ...

SHARE Metastatic Breast Cancer

3,933 members4,676 posts

What is best Scan?


When anyone gets extra time can you give me your opinion on what scans are best? I got my initial Pet last year to diagnose the cancer. My oncologist always orders a Cat not an MRI. I’m not questioning him just wondering what most of you get. I always get contrast and drink the lovely chalk, I asked if she had wine flavored instead of cherry! She looked at me like I was crazy 😜... I always act crazy when I’m nervous...Thanks for your time.

25 Replies

My oncologist has only done CT scans. She says they show more than pet scans. It seems that pet scans light up when there are hyper metabolic (cancerous) masses. CT scans don’t lit up so you can’t be sure what’s Cancer and what’s not. Doc looks for changes from CT to CT. I never asked about MRIs. 😑 ugh. How’s that bottle of wine doing?

Clair19 in reply to nstonerocks

I will say between the 3 of us it’s gone. I only had a small glass because my stomach is so sensitive these days. Last summer before Chemo I could eat and drink anything, not now. I have gained weight because I’m feeling better with no chemo. Yeah I guess cat scans are used mostly for change. I know the Pet lit up on scar tissue that was not cancer. I read so many different places it can go to besides breast, lung and liver. He mostly only focuses on my lung area and abdominal and pelvis. Most of my bone lesions are vague scoliosis. I think that means hard bones. I just want this scan over and move on with what ever, it’s pure torture.

A petscan is the best. They also do a ctscan with it. I do not drink the chalk as it makes me sick. The doctor said a pet scan shows them how the organs are working also.

Clair19 in reply to Jerseygirl45

Thanks, unfortunately my insurance only pays for the first one. Now just cat scans.

My oncologist always ordered cat scans and bone scans but since I had the Y-90 radioembolization to my liver, the interventional radiologist has preferred to monitor my liver with MRIs. When they first found my mets to liver, the cat scan only showed 3 lesions, while a subsequent MRI showed 12. Now I get MRIs of the abdomen and pelvis every 4-5 months to check on my liver and cat scan of the chest and bone scan to check on the rest of my body. I have two lesions left on my liver that they aren't sure are active cancer or not, and I asked if a PET scan could determine this, but I was told that because of the radioembolization I had, the PET scan would light up regardless.

I am curious, for others who have cat scans or MRIs, do you get them only for the areas of your body with known mets, or do they check your whole body each time and how often? I haven't had full body scans in a while and just wondering.

Clair19 in reply to Bluebird77

Good question, he only orders mine in areas where mets are. My spine always shows end plate hypertrophy at multiple levels compatible with reactive change. A month full, my lesions are sclerotic which means slow growing. I could have had them forever. I was getting them every 3 months, this time it’s been 5 months because I have not been on any targeted therapy. That’s why I’m so scared because it’s been so long. My index has remained stable so I don’t know what to expect.

Crazydentist in reply to Clair19

Hi Clair

I’m interested in what you said about your bone mets being sclerotic..mine are also...apart from the one that fractureddo hope mine are slow growing as well

Barb XX

Clair19 in reply to Crazydentist

All but one is sclerotic, which means slow growing and is building back up. Or can be hard bone, still cancer but slow. Fine with me.❤️

Clair19 in reply to Bluebird77

I meant to ask how long in between scans? 4-5 months?

They from top of head to mid thigh.

I was initially getting MRIs to monitor my liver every 3 months, then every 4 and this last time the IR said 4-5 months was ok. As for full body scans to check for new mets, initially it was 3, then 6 months but this time it has been almost a year and my oncologist has not ordered them (I was diagnosed stage 4 two years ago). I feel better knowing your oncologist also only checks where your mets are. Most women I know of with mbc get PET scans which I believe checks the whole body and would catch new mets in a different area, so I have been thinking about this.

Clair19 in reply to Bluebird77

I think unless we complain about certain pain they check mets. They will mostly treat you the same unless it’s really changing.

Hi, the doctors order CT, bone scan more than PET or MRI because they are cheaper and the insurance will aproved unless is really necessary, God bless you

I've been wondering the same thing. My bone mets were originally found with an MRI looking for arthritis, I then had a bone scan and a ct scan and was told that they'd had problems seeing the mets on the scans without the MRI. A few weeks ago when I had bone pain in my legs my oncologist ordered an x-ray and ultrasound to check veins. I had a ct scan but just for my body and this confused me a bit.

HaHa Clair19, I would love a wine flavored as well! I am also a silly chatty person when nervous. I do find that some find me less than humorous🤣

I also have CT scans with contrast and drink the chalky cocktail.

We do ours now once every six months -

I’ll take six months I’d like to get to once a year!

Have a beautiful day!

Clair19 in reply to Sheila100856

Thanks, 6 months sounds good.


I had every scan possible while diagnosing my cancer but now I have CT scans every three months to check for any spreading.

I've done well and my onc stopped scanning at regular intervals and has only ordered scans when there is a reason, like a symptom or TM having risen quite a bit. I don't remember exactly when we backed off on regular scans--I've had bone mets for 14 1/2 years, since first cancer diagnosis and have gone several years between scans at times. I have great insurance so that hasn't been a factor. I have lobular bc which can be difficult to find as it is just one cell thick and not the lumps we normally think of, it's thready instead. It's never shown up on a mammogram and we've gone on wild goose chases more than once based on a radiologists report of a scan. I had a PET earlier this year and it had been 8 years since the last one of those. But I have a nice lay easy to manage cancer that has been stable much of the time.

Clair19 in reply to PJBinMI

What type are you? I mean like I’m Her2 Negative.

My cancer only shows on PET scans. I have several spots, but none are large enough for biopsy or to show on CAT scan. Hope this helps. One insurance denied my PET scans and 3 new tumors popped up. They never showed up on the CAT.

Joan37 in reply to kkrouse

I'm very curious about this. Never heard it before. A CT scan can show a spot that's as small as 2mm. On the other hand, a PET scan needs a 1 cm (10mm) spot in order to send back a signal that's bright enough to indicate that the spot is potentially cancer.

CT scan shows morphology, that is they show an actual tumor/lesion that can be described, like it's round, smooth, has spiculated edges, is cystic, opaque, etc. But a PET scan doesn't show morphology. Rather, it sends back a signal ("lights up") depending on activity or how fast glucose is metabolizing. The cut-off point for suspecting cancer is an standard update value (SUV) of 3.0, and a spot has to usually be about 1 cm to get an accurate reading. But benign lesions can also light up, such as tuberculous, and inflammation can light up as well.

Where are your spots? Perhaps. that's the answer. Learn something new every day.

Wow my Cat shows 2mm spots on lung. I guess different areas show and some don’t.

I've had many PET/CTs but years ago he switched to CT scans, until the last scan. For a long time I was getting CT scans of the chest, abdomen and pelvis. For some reason, the last time my oncologist wanted me to get a PET/CT again, but for no particular reason that he mentioned, and all was ok.

Hi Clair19 I get the CT/Pet scan every 4 months from head to upper thigh. No chalky drink just a pink water drink that is not bad to drink and an injection of radioactive substance. Fun, right?

Hi. I believe it was about a year out from mets diagnosis...my mets are in my liver and I still get MRIs to check on them every 4-5 months. How about you?

You may also like...