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Can Gallium scan show something other than cancer
Apr 29, 2001

Dear Doc, I was diagnosed with NHL after a biopsy of a node under my arm.It was completely removed during the biopsy. A gallium scan showed one spot that lit up- at the back of my jaw (Left madible) I've had three doses of CHOP, 100%, 50% and 75% at fairly erratic spacing. (I recently had to take a 5 week brake for an appendectomy. A follow up gallium scan showed, once again, a spot under my ear at the jaw. For some reason my oncologist is thinking it may not be cancer that she's looking at. I'm having an MRI later this week to get a better look. Does this make sense at all? What else can light up on a gallium scan? I don't understand why she might be making this conclusion (although I like it better than the idea that CHOP isn't working.) Any thoughts?

Response from Dr. Dezube

I share with you your concern for your positive gallium scan. Basically when a gallium scan lights up, it's a sign that there's inflammation. It doesn't tell you what the inflammation is due to. It indeed could represent persistent cancer, but it also could also be due to other things such as inflammation at the site of a recent biopsy, a low grade infection, and so on. For example, if you have a tooth infection, then that would give a positive gallium scan. The MRI may help give a clue. Ultimately you may need a biopsy to determine what's causing the positive gallium scan. In my own practice, only about 50% of the time do gallium scans such as yours represent cancer. The rest of the time they are due to other things. It's important that you complete 6 cycles of chemotherapy with the highest % of CHOP that your body can tolerate. It's equally important that you take highly active anti-retroviral therapy if you are not already doing so. I wish you luck. BD.

spots all over
KS lesion appears while receiving CHOP

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