PET scan-Infection or Cancer?

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JanineT Forum M...
PET scan-Infection or Cancer?


"Sir, My father in law, has a recurrence of oral cancer and had undergone radiation an year ago in july -aug 2019 He had a PET scan done recently where the SUV values are 9.5 and 9.8 near right buccal mucosa where he already had cancer, but the time of taking the scan he was having heavy infection in that area with lots of pus coming out. We did the pus culture test and there is e.coli bacteria present in that area. We are not able to consult the doctor due to covid. What does the high SUV signify here? Infection or Tumour."
Thanks Nitesh for your question.  I'm very sorry your father in law is going through this.  Infection can cause a high SUV though I don't know the value range for E coli .  Oncologists usually want to get an infection under control before trying to determine if there is cancer active in that area.  Tumors and infection look alike in both PET and CT.   It's not often you hope for an e. coli diagnosis but when the other possibility is cancer things change. 
I hope he does well, gets rid of the infection and finds no cancer.  On a personal note my husbands scans never returned to normal partly because of scarring from radiation. 
All best,