PET/SCAN In Layman Terms Please - 1295039


Please I would like someone could please interpret this part of the PET/SCAN for me.

Development of a small hypermetabolic focus within the T6 vertebral body suspicious for small osseous metastasis. No significant FDG uptake associated with the sclerotic focus within the proximal right femur which may reflect a treated metastasis. Resolution of the focal hypermetabolic activity within the right sacral ala.


Posts: 258

Welcome to GRACE.

PET scans look for areas or 'foci' of increased metabolic activity. Those can be cancerous sites because cancer cells divide more frequently than normal cells.

The first sentence means that the PET scan is indicating there may be a small metastasis on the spine. The second sentence is indicating no excess activity on another bone lesion, so it is probably not active cancer on the right femur (the bone in the thigh). The third sentence indicates no active cancer on the sacral ala (a bone in the pelvis).

What type of cancer have you been diagnosed with?

Posts: 2753

Hi abigale,

Welcome to GRACE. Forgive me if you are already familiar with some of this information. When a PET scan is performed, the patient recieves an intravenous tracer (FDG) which is taken up by various types of cells, including cancer cells. But it can also show uptake when there is infection, inflammation or other conditions, all of which have increased metabolic activity. So a finding of uptake on a PET scan cannot definitively determine the presence of cancer; in the context of an existing cancer diagnosis it can raise a presumption that cancer is present.

That is the situation described in the first quoted sentence. The second sentence indicates the possibility of a site which was metastatic but has been successfully treated. And the third sentence likely describes an area in which prior hypermetabolic activity is no longer seen (which could, for example, indicate an infection which has cleared up).

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