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Thread: Interpreting PET scan results

  1. #1
    Regular User
    Join Date
    Jun 2014

    Interpreting PET scan results

    I'm wondering if you guys can help me out with a scan result of my mom.

    Background: it has been 5y2m since my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. We have noticed her CA19-9 levels slowly going up so her oncologist ordered a PET scan. We just received the results and let's just say I'm baffled by the scan and what the oncologist said in response.

    Start of report
    Since the previous scans, new or enlarging, faintly FDG-avid pulmonary nodules are identified. (... details on the size of nodes)

    Status post SBRT, slightly improved consolidation is seen with associated air bronchograms, attributable to post RT change. No suspicious interval change is seen to suggest gross local recurrence

    Stable sub pleural nodule seen in the right upper lobe anterior segment, non specific. Minimal clustered centrilobular nodules are also noted in the middle lobe medial segment, increased from before, possibly representing mild small airways inflammation. The previous noted patchy consolidation in both lungs shows interval reduction in extent.
    End of report

    Unfortunately I'm never there at the medical appointments so I will have to try and get all the updates from my parents. So my parents told me that the oncologist is not particularly worried yet (why?? The scan looks to me like there is a recurrence and this is supported by the increasing CA19-9 levels as well). Knowing my parents (they fully trust their oncologist), they probably didnt really question much so

    So I guess my question is am I missing something from the scan report? Is there some medical term in there that I didnt understand and could possibly translate to why the doc thinks its not that worrying yet?

    At least we are changing up the chemo drugs to do something about it. For quite a long while, my mom had been taking a milder version of folfirinox (I know theres a term for it, it's the drug combi that is somewhat similar to folfirinox but minus the drug that causes neuropathy). So the doc is putting my mom back on folfirinox again. We have had really good results from that in the past. I'm hoping it will still work this time round.
    May 30 - Mom admitted into hospital due to painless jaundice
    June 2 - CT scan confirmed ~4cm mass at head of pancreas.
    June 6 - Whipple successfully carried out!
    June 12 - Biopsy report out. Resection margins are clean, but unfortunately 11/16 lymph nodes were positive.
    July 30 - CT scan shows a 0.7cm mass at one of the lymph nodes at original site. Ca19-9 markers at 110, down from 1,700 when first admitted.
    Aug 6 - Blood work shows increase in CA19-9 markers to 120. First line of chemo will be Gemcitabine/Abraxane.

    Mar 11 - After 4 rounds of Gemzar today her CA19-9 suddenly shot up to 458, from 252
    Mar 16 - PET scan confirms mets to lung. switching to Folfirinox
    Apr 1 - CA19-9 rose to 699 after 2nd round of folfolfirinox. Unfortunately this is not an April Fool joke

  2. #2
    Regular User
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    I apologise for my patchy eng by the way - it's not my native language. If I dont come across clear, please feel free to ask away.


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