Monday 29 April 2024

PET Scan At The Royal Marsden This Morning

The results of the PET scan that I had back on the 8th February, 3 month after I finished my Radiotherapy treatment at the Royal Marsden in Sutton, showed that I still had a hot spot showing where "George" the tumour AKA a Solitary bony plasmacytoma of the left mandible had been busy eating bone and teeth roots away. 

It also showed what I knew was happening that I have multiple sites of polyarthropathy which literally means "disease in many joints" which first started to present itself when they were half way through taking multiple biopsies and countless scans and tests trying to establish what form of tumour George was and how far he may have travelled in his universe that is my body!

In the next couple of weeks I have an appointment with the Maxi-facial department, the Rheumatology department and the Haematology department at St Georges in order to review the results of this new PET Scan and to see what can be done about my mobility issues and if "George" is still a hot spot or if the radiotherapy had continued its work and has finally eliminated him, and how we move forward.

Position Emission Tomography (PET) is a non-invasive nuclear medicine technique that allows the evaluation of metabolic processes and the disturbance of these processes by disease. 

It allows the identification of metabolically active cancer cells and provides excellent information on the staging of the disease and the impact of treatment. So fundamentally they will be able to see how effective my radiotherapy has or has not been after a further 2 months following my last PET Scan when George was still a hot spot. 

The Royal Marsden has two state-of-the-art Siemens Biograph mCT PET/CT scanners on the Sutton site and one Siemens Biograph Horizon PET/CT in Chelsea. Access to a variety of PET tracers is available for both clinical and research studies. These tracers are produced in-house by their radiopharmacy, and also supplied by third party companies.

For FDG PET/CT scans one is not be able to eat anything six hours before your appointment. During this time you can drink as much still/tap water as you like - you do not need to have a full bladder for your scan.

The scan isn’t painful. However, you will have to lie still for up to one hour on a table which is quite hard. I let the radiographers/technologists about the pain and the discomfort that I had during my PET scan at St Georges as it could lead to difficulties with the scan, and they ensured they packed me and positioned and restrained my feet and arms such as to minimise stress and pain in my joints.

I had removed my chain and wedding rings before attending and had ensured that I was wearing clothes without any metal so that I didn't have to change into a hospital gown. 

I was taken to a preparation room where a cannular was inserted into my arm, my blood sugars were taken and they gave me a small injection of radioactive tracer into a vein and ask me to remain lying down for about one hour. My mobility problems would not allow this so I was allowed to sit for the hour. 

After an hour, I was asked to empty my bladder as its not as if you can jump off for a pee halfway through, and then we went into the scanning room. Because of my shoulder problems I was scanned with my arms by my  sides. Sometimes they scan with your arms raised above your head. 

During the scan, the radiographer/technologist is able to see you from the control room and you can talk to each other through an intercom. They keep you informed about what scans they are doing and how long each section is going to be. 

My particular scans, whole body and head and neck were 25 minutes and 8 minutes respectively. 

Although the radiographer/technologist can see parts of your body on the screen, the images must be carefully interpreted by a Radiologist/Nuclear Medicine physician who is an expert in this field. 

The injected radioactive chemicals have a very short lifespan and are removed from the body fairly quickly. I was advised to avoid close contact with babies or pregnant women for eight hours after your scan.

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