I have been researching the effectiveness of pet ct scan in picking up recurrent breast cancer. I have discovered that it's not used for that purpose. They wait until there are symptoms of a recurrence.before further tests are done.We are able to get cost free pet scans yearly (friend is a radiologist) and he would be willing to do that. My daughter has been told by cancer centers that regular pet scans are not done because it doesn't change the outcome.
The difference between a P.E.T. / C.T. scan and a C.T. or an MRI is that a P.E.T. /CT is proactive and the others are reactive tests.
I fought for and received 2 funded P.E.T. scans as requested / recommended by my medical teams, that were initially denied my the Ministry of Health - Ontario.
As I said in a meeting with one of the top brass, "my cancer can be found when I'm dead and on the autopsy table ,or during a P.E.T. scan that I can't afford - because you won't pay for it - that my surgeon needs before recommending the treatment path" Then I asked him to put himself in my shoes. They changed their tune pretty quickly because they knew they made the rules (and I proved them wrong) and their opinion of the standard of care and use of P.E.T. scans was the strictest and least utilized in the country, and I am in Ontario.
To say a P.E.T. scan is not used as it will not change the outcome is (to be polite) simply ridiculous. Its all about money my friend, and by the time you get a (reactive) C.T. or MRI - the tumor has already grown and reasonably - it will take more effort to control, and may have already caused unnecessary / excessive collateral damage / metastasis etc... Turn their argument around and ask "why bother doing a C.T. or M.R.I.", if its not going to change the outcome. It just doesn't make any sense to me. I repeat, its all about money.
A P.E.T. scan looks at "live" what's happening and forming currently in your body, and completes the picture at the molecular level - before a tumor forms, and gives evidence toward metastasis and where cancer may be other that the visual tumor. Better overall planning is possible because you've seen what is happening now vs. what's already happened. If I have to undergo the knife, chemo, immunotherapy, radiation etc... ever again - I'd prefer it be done in as few increments as possible. and that's the benefit of utilizing a proactive P.E.T. scan prior to initiating treatment. I'm just a cancer patient, but that makes pretty good sense to me - in my specific needs as per my medical teams.
I've live with unknown primary cancer since diagnosis in 2016, (already had one recurrence), and I will do what's necessary to keep on top of the best means to prevent another round of cancer in my body.