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PET/CT for Ovarian Cancer

PET/CT for Ovarian Cancer

Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

I was diagnosed with fallopian cancer January 2006 had surgery and 6 chemo treatments ending July 2006. My Gynecologic Oncologist ordered a PET/CT in February 2007. My insurance company is refusing to pay for the scan saying it is not a proven for my type of cancer. I'm looking for research data that will support the use of PET/CT in fallopian/ovarian cancer.

Answer

Stephen C. Rubin, MD, Professor and Chief of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, University of Pennsylvania Health System, responds:

At present, there is no convincing data that using PET/CT scans will improve the outcome for women with ovarian cancer. In other words, finding recurrence on a PET/CT when no symptoms are present (pain, elevated CA-125, etc) may not result in any improvement in survival. This was found to be true in breast cancer and guidelines state that those patients should have radiology scans (CT, bone scans, etc) only if symptoms arise. Many insurance companies will not pay for the PET/CT test, as it is quite expensive and there is a fair amount of uncertainty as to its value in improving patient outcomes.