CT Scan vs PET Scan - Which is Better?

One of the most important parts of colon cancer care is follow up to make sure your disease doesn't return. Nobody should have to get the news that colon cancer has returned, but the best chance of successfully treating colon cancer recurrence is catching it as early as possible.

How To Best Detect Colon Cancer Recurrence

What's the best way to detect colon cancer that has returned? Researchers aimed to answer this question by studying 71 people with suspected colon cancer recurrence.

All of the patients underwent both a computed tomography (CT) scan and a positron emission tomography (PET) scan. Suspected tumors were followed up with a biopsy or further imaging to determine whether or not they were cancer.

PET Scan Superior

The CT scan was positive for cancer in 82% of patients, while the PET scan was positive in 98% of patients. Considering all tumors detected (some patients had more than one tumor), the PET scan was 88% accurate and the CT scan was 53% accurate.

The PET scan was particularly good at detecting cancer recurrence in lymph nodes. This is important, because detecting cancer recurrence accurately, in all types of body tissue, can effect treatment options. In this study, clinical management (treatment options) plans were changed based on PET scan results in 40% of patients.

Talk to Your Doctor About Follow Up

According to this study, PET scans are better at detecting colon cancer recurrence than CT scans.

In up to 40% of cases, this can modify the management of colon cancer recurrence.

Be sure you talk to your doctor about the long-term plan you'll follow to make sure you stay cancer-free. Most hospitals now offer PET scans, so this may be a good option for you.

Along with getting regular follow up care and screening for cancer recurrence, be sure to pay attention to your body.

We are our own best advocates for health care. If you suspect something in your body isn't right, work with your medical team to get to the bottom of it.

Don't let fear of the unknown prevent you from getting prompt care. The sooner you determine any health issues, the more likely they can be treated successfully.

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