Abnormal Mammogram.. Pet scan instead of biopsy?

Portal Forums Member Updates Breast Cancer Member Updates Abnormal Mammogram.. Pet scan instead of biopsy?

This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Dr West Dr West 3 years, 11 months ago.

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September 17, 2014 at 11:50 pm  #1266018    


I just had mammogram showing huge lymph node? under right arm and small streaks in right breast. They want to biopsy both. I’m wondering if it’s ok to insist on PET first? Wouldn’t a PET show if it’s cancer and if so if there’s any other areas needing biopsied? I get bad keloid scarring from anything and would rather avoid biopsy scarring if a PET might prove it non-cancerous.

My doctor is a very (very) laid back family practitioner. I had to push for the mammogram. (Age 39)
So if I get a PET I will have to push for it, she will order if I do insist though.
I realize other things can show on a PET, but it seems like it would confirm or rule out cancer in those specific locations. Asking here, I know I will need a more involved Dr if this turns out true, but atm she’s all I have.

Thank you for your advice.

September 18, 2014 at 7:04 am  #1266030    
JimC Forum Moderator
JimC Forum Moderator

Hi Rosie,

Welcome to GRACE. I’m sorry to hear of these concerning findings from your mammogram. There is no harm in getting a PET scan (other than cost), but PET scans do not confirm cancer. The scan will not differentiate between cancer, inflammation or infection, and only a biopsy will confirm the existence of cancer cells. Since it seems pretty clear that something is going on with the lymph node, it is fairly likely that it will light up on the PET scan and you’ll need to proceed to a biopsy anyway.

Good luck with your follow-up.

Forum moderator

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September 18, 2014 at 7:48 pm  #1266052    
Dr West
Dr West

PET scans are not usually done in this situation. If there’s a clearly accessible enlarged node and/or breast lump, that’s usually biopsied directly, under ultrasound guidance, before jumping to a PET scan.

Good luck.

-Dr. West

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