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Author Topic: PET scans  (Read 1712 times)

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Offline bmancanfly

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  • Posts: 582
  • Medicare For All !
PET scans
« on: October 13, 2010, 10:13:22 AM »
Anyone have any experience or knowledge about getting a PET scan. 

From what I've read on the internets the levels of radiation exposure might be very high.  Since I'm not totally convinced that I need this procedure that has me concerned. 

One of the warnings they gave me as prep for the scan was that I can't have contact with pregnant women or children for at least five hours after the test is done.   That can't be good.
"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 Bertrand Russell

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: PET scans
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2010, 02:56:27 PM »
You should discuss your concerns with the doctor that ordered the test or the radiographer who will perform it.

PET scans (like X-ray and CAT scans) do use ionising radiation to do their work but the amount (measured in milliSieverts) is not outrageously high. PET scans are usually combined with CAT scans (though not always) and this adds to the radiation exposure load but even so, it's not something to be overly worried about.

It's the radioactive tracer injection they give you beforehand which requires you to stay away from kiddies and gravid females for a few hours afterwards. This has a short half life and will be pretty much gone within 24 hours.

A single PET scan is not going to cause you any health problems. The amount of ionising radiation a human can handle in a single dose is actually quite high. It's the cumulative effect which matters. Have PET/CAT scan every week and you might have some issues.

MtD

Offline bmancanfly

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Re: PET scans
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2010, 03:46:47 PM »
Thanks Matty.  That's helpful.  I do have a call into my doc's office and am awaiting a call back,  and waiting,  and waiting.

It may be a moot point anyway.  Just got a call from the insurance monsters at Aetna and the PET scan approval was declined.    So the procedure is on hold for the foreseeable future.

I'm sure the ocologist's office and the insurance co. will be battling it out over the $3500.00 cost of the procedure.  We'll see what happens.

"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 Bertrand Russell

Offline Grinch

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  • Posts: 325
Re: PET scans
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2010, 10:47:57 PM »
PET is very good at visualizing "activity" such as an oncologist would be looking for.  As a screening measure it is unlikely insurance will approve a scan, however if you have an active cancer, PET would certainly be a reasonable test.  The dose from a single PET is not something to be overly concerned with.
As MtD explained you will be Emitting (the E in PET) radiation. Very low doses of ionizing radiation can have negative effects in a fetus. That is why you will be required to avoid them as you await the half life of the isotope injected.
In conjunction with a CT, we can merge the two types of image to provide a very accurate visualization of the region of interest, including anatomy and 'activity'.

In my last job I designed and repaired medical imaging equipment including PET and CT.  The physics behind PET is so amazing it boarders on magic!

Granny60

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Re: PET scans
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2010, 11:07:51 PM »
Your doctor should be able to go back to the thieving insurance company with a letter of medical necessity explaining why the test is warranted and get the past the denialist bean counters to get your scan covered if you need it. This is the kind of crap that makes lots of medical providers quit their profession because they get tired of having to fight for their patients welfare. Pet is usually used to find cancer because cancer cells have a faster metabolic rate, so they take up the radioactive tracer faster than normal cells in your body thus showing up as "hot" spots. The tracer has a very short half life, meaning it breaks down very quickly. Hubby has had over 15  scans in the last year with no side effects.

Offline tednlou2

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Re: PET scans
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2010, 12:08:07 AM »
Matty, do you know all this info off the top of your head?  If so, that is an amazing mind. 

I remember Oprah getting one done for her show.  I was amazed by all the detail it showed--every one of her arteries, veins, organs, etc.  They could see whether she had any blockages.  It made me think people after age 50 should have these done to prevent a massive heart attack like Tim Russert.  But, there is that huge expense. 

Oh, what was that story recently where many hospitals were not using their CAT scans properly?  They had them turned way up giving out huge doses of radiation.  I believe they said it was like getting hundreds (maybe thousands) of chest x-rays.  I just tried looking for that story, but my computer is running very slowly for some reason. 

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: PET scans
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2010, 01:10:03 AM »
Matty, do you know all this info off the top of your head?  If so, that is an amazing mind. 

Yes. I'm like totally clever.

MtD

Offline bmancanfly

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Re: PET scans
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2010, 10:35:08 AM »
Thanks to everyone for the feedback.

Finally got a call back from the docs office and discussed the procedure with them at length.  They really are very helpful and supportive.  I don't know how they can be so cheeful all the time.  I remember sitting in the oncologists waiting room with my little KS situation watching all the other patients coming and going,  some of whom were really, really sick.  Let's just say it was a pretty grim room.  Kinda puts things in perspective.

Not really feeling like I have the energy to deal with an insurance co. battle right now.  So hopefully the doc's office can handle it without my help.  They tell me that the sweet lady I dealt with can be quite a barracuda when dealing with insurance companies.  We'll see.
"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 Bertrand Russell

Granny60

  • Guest
Re: PET scans
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2010, 10:52:57 AM »
  They tell me that the sweet lady I dealt with can be quite a barracuda when dealing with insurance companies.  We'll see.

I love the barracuda dealing with the insurance companies.  Husband had over 50 doctors visits and 7 surgeries last year. Dealing with his insurance company has been hell the last 3 years, but you gotta love the doctors and secretaries that get their fill and go postal on the insurance company $ denialists.  One doctor in particular had his fill, got on the phone and blasted them, then sent them letters.  the next time we called the insurance , they said "Oh yes, we have received several letters from your doctor" ;D ;D ;D It is sad that doctors have to waste their time doing this when we do the right thing and buy a top of the line policy, pay our premiums, and then have to fight for coverage.

 


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