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Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

Mysterious Lump Update

Yesterday morning I was back at RMG for another PET scan, just six months after my last one, to investigate the lump I found in my chest. The experience was similar to last time, although I learned a couple of new things. One, that the fluorine-18 radionuclide tag used by RMG comes daily from a cyclotron in Las Vegas, even though there’s a cyclotron in San Diego county. That facility was purchased by another medical imaging company, who apparently doesn’t want to sell the radioisotope to competitors. That’s unfortunate, because it’s my understanding that production of the short-lived (half-life, 110 minutes) fluorine tag is a major portion of the high cost of PET scans. Second, that during the scan, I was also getting bombarded with gamma rays from an external source. I had thought the PET scan was completely passive, but apparently the gamma ray bath helps define the image of my body and its internal organs, making the scan easier to read. I guess it doesn’t really matter whether my exposure is from a source inside my body or outside, it’s still only about 7 milliSieverts, about 7-8 times the normal annual background radiation level in San Diego. My doctor should get the results later today.

In the afternoon I went in for a biopsy of the lump. Twice, I had a needle inserted into my chest, and the doctor moved the tip around vigorously as he sucked in a tissue sample. It wasn’t really very painful, but the first time I bled all over the place. He said the results should be available by Friday. I can see why he wanted to wait after the PET scan to take the sample – after this rude treatment, the semi-firm lump now feels like a hard knot.

The PET scan should be a good indication of whether the lump is malignant or not, and the biopsy should determine whether I have a metastasis of my melanoma, male breast cancer, or nothing serious.

Posted by Greg in Melanoma, Posts About Me


This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 18th, 2006 at 08:54 PST and is filed under Melanoma, Posts About Me. You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Mysterious Lump Update”

  1. Ramblings » Blog Archive » The Lump Is Not Cancer says:

    […] The Lump Is Not Cancer […]

  2. Ramblings » Blog Archive » Lymphedema says:

    […] Lymphedema I heard from my oncological surgeon on Monday. The report had come back from the biopsy of the lump in my chest (finally) and the results were – inconclusive. He told me my options were to attempt another biopsy with a larger needle, or to just go ahead with a surgical removal. […]