Cervical Cancer Follow-up

After treatment is complete, it is important to know if any active cancer cells remain in the body. This is called restaging. A follow-up whole-body PET/CT scan is used to restage the entire body for the presence or absence of active tumor.

If the cancer cells have been destroyed they will not absorb the radioactive glucose. Conversely, if the cancer has come back, the PET scan can detect the accumulation of radioactive glucose much sooner than the CT scan can detect the change. This helps the physician determine if the treatment was successful or if the tumor has returned.

Often, scar tissue at the site of surgical resection or radiation treatment may appear as an abnormality on the CT scan. The PET portion of the scan can detect any accumulation or absence of radioactive glucose, which helps the physician differentiate scar tissue, from recurrent tumor or residual disease. If retreatment by surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy is necessary and can be detected and restarted as soon as possible, it will improve the chance of beating the disease.

After treatment at follow-up visits, depending on the stage of the cancer, doctors may order additional tests and procedures to determine if the cancer has returned. PET/CT provides meaningful information for the early evaluation of therapeutic response and long-term follow-up.1

PET/CT can be used to image tumor response to therapy and to detect recurrence in treated lesions.

Reference:

  1. Magne N, et al. New trends in the evaluation and treatment of cervix cancer: the role of FDG-PET. Cancer Treat Rev. 2008 Dec; 34(8):671-81