PET SUV numbers definition .. Please help me…

Portal Forums Cancer Basics Imaging Issues PET SUV numbers definition .. Please help me…

This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  cards7up 2 years, 6 months ago.

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January 27, 2016 at 2:27 pm  #1272765    


‘M a 49yr old woman. Smoker for 35 yrs. I was told I have a 4 cm x 2cm x 2cm mass in my right upper lobe of lung Jan. 2nd 2016 after a CT contrast scan. I just received my PET scan results but my oncologist explained that he is not used to diagnosing cancer and by the time a patient comes to him, they have already had a biopsy which I have not.
I’m more confused than before as he didnt explain my results and only scheduled a biopsy. My PET scan said i have “worsening irregular airspace disease in upper right lobe with hypermetabolism and max SUV of 5.2″ and “the tiny opacities in the lower left lobe are redemonstrated as well as more confluent hypermetamoblic airspace disease in lower left lobe with maximum SUV of 3.6 with new hypermetabolic pleutal parenchymal airspace disease in the lingula Max SUV 4.4.”
My oncologist spent 6 minutes in entire appt. And told me that it doesnt say “much”. I’ve made an Appt with a different oncologist that is highly reccomended by friends of friends. If you could explain my SUV numbers and what airspace disease might interpret I would truly appreciate it. I’m more confused than i was BEFORE my PET scan.
Thank you…..

January 27, 2016 at 5:27 pm  #1272766    
catdander forum moderator
catdander forum moderator

Hi Seffyturn,

I’m sorry you’re dealing with such a frightening issue. It’s true that oncologists don’t typically diagnose cancer. That’s normally done prior by someone else. In your case a pulmonologist may be an appropriate choice for such a work up.

Irregular airspace disease wouldn’t be too unusual in someone who smoked 35 years and could be pneumonia. However it’s been shown that stopping smoking helps. I too smoked for about as long and now am over 6 years out.

SUV can suggest cancer but also infection and inflammation such as pneumonia. A positive biopsy is the only thing that proves lung cancer is present and oncologists will want this proof plus a staging workup before proceeding with treatment.

This may be of help,

I hope this helps and mostly I hope you find and easier answer to these issues. All the very best,

January 29, 2016 at 2:52 pm  #1272793    


Scans show suspicion for cancer but only a biopsy can confirm whether it is cancer or not. Once the biopsy is done, you’ll have more answers. Wishing you the best.
Take care, Judy

Stage IIIA adeno, dx 7/2010. SRS then chemo carbo/alimta 4x. NED as of 10/2011.
Local recurrence, surgery to remove LRL 8/29/13. 5.2cm involved pleura. Chemo carbo/alimta x3. NED

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