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PET scan for relapsed Hodgkin's; How accurate is it? What are my chances?
Oct 18, 2002

had hodgkins 4 years ago,only mantle field radiation. Feel sick all the time, fevers,night sweats and lost 25 lbs. Recent petscan showed hyper activity in mediastinum,abdominal aorta and numerous left iliac nodes. Had one iliac node taken out, showed reactive tissue. My Dr. saids I have Hodgkin's again. All the nodes measure 1.5 cm and have not grown in 3 months. Just had bone marrow done and another PET scan. How accurate are the PET scans and can lymph nodes in these areas that are small be taken out again? I also have left hip pain and lower back pain. Could the nodes not grow but spread to bone marrow?

Response from Dr. Dezube

Your situation is indeed a bit worrisome. I would just make two important points--

1) Although PET scans are indeed quite good, I never would treat a patient for relapsed Hodgkin's disease without a biospy to prove that s/he has it. On occasion (and I can certainly remember such occasions), the scans can deceive. I would imagine that you need another biopsy unless your bone marrow examination is conclusive.

2) If you were to have relapsed Hodgkin's disease, you chances are still quite good, in fact, they are excellent. It sounds like you have never had chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is very effective for Hodgkin's disease.

So my message to you, is to do whatever it takes to get a definitive diagnosis of what's happening and then act accordingly. Please write back if and when you find out more.

And yes, Hodgkin's disease can spread to the bone marrow even if your lymph nodes have not grown.


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