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.
Hello. I live in Ontario and keep thinking about the PET scan for myself. I had stage 1 colon cancer and was told that I dont need any other treatments. My brother recently died from stage 4 cancer and he kept telling me to go get a PET scan to make sure all cancer was found. I'm starting to feel anxious about this. Let's face it as you noted- I'd rather be proactive too. Can you provide any tips to get approved to have this test?
I looked up the link for follow up Follow-up after treatment for colorectal cancer from the Canadian Cancer Society website. The link provides general information for follow up or as I call it surveillance. Each cancer follow up protocol is based on the type of cancer - and your specific uniqueness.
Referring to my previous post, I fought for (and won) funded P.E.T. scans twice after my specialists submitted requests for funded testing, and they were denied by the M.O.H.L.T.C. Ontario. You said in your post you were told you don't need any further tests, but what was the plan moving forward for follow ups and monitoring? Read the link I supplied, and use the guidelines to ask the right questions of your doctor.
Every case is different, and that starts in pre diagnosis and runs right through treatment and follow up afterwards. In my case, having unknown primary, the specialist wanted to determine if cancer was anywhere else in my body (other than what was seen) before instituting treatment after my recurrence. This was a good reason to seek a P.E.T. scan outside of the funding formula for all concerned. Understanding what is right for you starts with a conversation with your medical team about your specific situation for monitoring.
Hope this helps, and please share with us what you discover.
Hello and thanks for your response. So far my team is my family.doctor. I have no other follow ups and although I was told I would have another Ct scan, nothing was scheduled yet. During the former ct scan I had,they discovered an aneurysm so I have some follow up for that scheduled only. I will read up in the sight you suggested. What I had asked the oncologist ( when I had one) is how do I know if I am the 90% that will not see cancer again, or in the 10%that do. The doctor couldn't answer. Oh my oh my!
Here's my suggestion. Talk to your family doctor about your cancer related follow ups. If you were told you would have another CT scan and you have not yet been scheduled - was it missed??? Important to find out for yourself. This would also be a good time to discuss the info I gave you and ask what your cancer related follow up plan is.
Just wanted to mention that not every patient that has a cancer diagnosis requires a PET scan. When people have been through treatment and are doing well there is generally no reason to have this done. In fact in some cases, it can increase anxiety with false positives. I had treatment in 2010 - 2011 and in all this time have never had a PET scan. I have had an ultrasound and a CT scan when some things were in question.
If the medical professionals are having trouble diagnosing or pinpointing a cancer, or if they want to see if a specific treatment is working, PET scan is often the go to.
I don't want you to think your medical team have done you a disservice by not having one done.