Cancer diagnosis and treatment

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Occasional Contributor

Cancer diagnosis and treatment

I have had a big squamous cell carcinoma removed by wedge excision surgery. I have to have a PET scan. Does anyone know how long you stay in the tube? I get claustrophobia! More scared of this than I was of the surgery!

Also, how effective are chemotherapy and radiotherapy in curing cancer? I have only seen people have it in terminal cancer capacity where it slightly prolonged life but took away all quality of life and so due to this I am a bit reluctant to have it as a treatment if it is recommended.

 

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Occasional Contributor

Re: Cancer diagnosis and treatment

Hi Antan,

 

I can tell you about my recent PET scan. I have/had kidney cancer and had a pet scan just over a week ago to check for spread.

 

My scan was a FDG PET-CT scan. FDG is the radioactive sugar they inject which is absorbed better by cancerous cells than normal cells. You rest for 45-60 mins on a darkened room to let it spread around your body.

 

You then go for the scan. My scan took less than 30 mins, maybe 20 mins. They didn’t do my legs, just pelvis to head. I then had a CT scan (to compare with previous CTs.) Same machine, you don’t get up, which this time only took a few mins.

 

You lie on a flat bed which moves in and out of the scanner controlled by a technician in another room. They can talk to you, I think you can talk to them. Your head is only in the machine while it’s scanning your head. If it’s scanning your pelvis, your head will be out.

 

It’s relatively quiet  (MRI scans are noisy but PET and CT aren’t, just a background hum.) I don’t get claustrophobic, but I get bored. When I lay down, I just closed my eyes. The less you move, the more accurate the scans will be and the less chance you’ll need to do it again. You really don’t feel that you are inside the tube. Easy for me to say, but honestly, I couldn’t really tell if I was in the tube or not other than by knowing the bed had moved back and forward a bit.

 

I’m not a huge fan of needles. Apparently my veins are hopeless. But you need to get some substances into your blood stream to enable the scans to be taken. When I think that the alternative is not knowing if my cancer has spread, not knowing if I should be having any further treatment, then it becomes something I still don’t like but I just get on with. It doesn’t get any easier for me, even though I’ve been in a CT machine 4 times in the last two months and had two hospital procedures, but it is what it is. My scans came back clear. No spread. So I don’t need any further treatment. I’d rather know that than be worried it had spread. The price I need to pay is having needles stuck in me. The PET scan was fine...all you need to do is lie still for 20 mins and close your eyes. The technician said it isn’t unusual for people to doze off in the prep room or scanner!

 

Having said all of that, you might be getting a different scan, different machine, etc, so it could take less time or more. Either way, good luck with the scan, I hope you get good news from it. Focus on that rather than worrying about the process. The staff will make you as comfortable as possible and your biggest worry might be snoring rather than claustrophobia!

 

As for chemo/radiotherapy, I haven’t had any of that. I got the all clear for no further treatment other than surgery, thanks to the PET scan. What I do know is that I know friends and work colleagues who have had both, and they’re still here many years later. Some have no evidence of cancer, others receive treatment from time to time, but probably none of them would be here without it. Treatments are different for different cancers, and people’s reactions to them can vary. Firstly, find out if you have any cancer left, then discuss treatment options with your doctor if required.

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Occasional Contributor

Re: Cancer diagnosis and treatment

Thank you

I wish you a speedy recovery

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Occasional Contributor

Re: Cancer diagnosis and treatment

I had the PET CT scan and it was absolutely fine. The donut shape is massive so didn't feel claustrophobic, the saline and nuclear medicine intravenous fine, was made to feel calm and comfortable by the radiologists and it was a calm experience. I nearly fell asleep! 

Firstly I fasted for 18 hrs , drank heaps of water in the hours before scan, the radiologist inserts canula and then you go into a room on reclining chair where nuclear medicine is inserted into canula for about an hour.

Then into scanner. Lie on a bed which goes in and out of scanner which is donut shaped. For 20m ins. Then more medicine put into canula then ct scan where arms are above head. You keep v still and voice tells you to hold breath then breathe again. Afterwards you can eat!

Now waiting for results.

 

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Re: Cancer diagnosis and treatment

Results all clear!

Very relieved and grateful

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Re: Cancer diagnosis and treatment

Hi Antan

 

I have had two petscan one was for about 45 mins to me the first one was such a long time I was ready to leave and then they said I was only halfway thru this was when I was diagnosed with lymphoma.

 

The second one after treatment I had to learn a way, I found that by meditating.  When I was lying down on the table with the machine going up and down I decided to close my eyes and stay still as possible.  I relaxed my whole body and well as my thinking I thought of lovely relaxing scenes in my mind like walking along a beach with bare feet feeling what the sand would feel between my toes and the breeze in my face and another scene is lying back near a waterfall with my eyes closed hearing the gentle sound of the water.   Within no time the techician guy tapped me on the shoulder and that was it I was finished.

 

Have you ever learn to meditate it was the best thing I was so relaxed.  You must be relaxed before you go into the appointment.  Please try it, it helped me.

 

 

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