Help with CAT/MRI results please

Posted By
9/13/2017 7:32pm
Replies: 6

I've just had my follow up CAT/MRI scans results come in. Did anyone else have both imagimg tests done after one another?That first.Whilst the CAT scan did not show anything, the MRI showed one enlarged lypmh node /15 mm/ and another spot in my pelvic area. I had very bad  reaction to the contrast drugs /barium I think/  they give you for the CAT scan just before the MRI and severe diarrhea I never had like before in my life .Also the MRI  test was disrupted at some point with me having to go to the rest room because of that and then continued again.Upon careful visual examination my oncologist was not able to detect or feel any hard immovable mass/lumps at the same precise spots as shown by the MRI.She is not sure how to interpret the scan results so she is referring me  to a melanoma center of excellence for biopcies to confirm or rule out melanoma.Has anyone had false positive MRI results?Did anyone have an enlarged lymph node due to inflammation/infection rather than melanoma recurrence?Obviously I am freaked out and scared out of my mind so any feedback will be highly appreciated.Thank you.

Anonymous - (9/13/2017 - 7:39pm)

Certainly, you can have enlarged lymph nodes without being a recurrence.  Infection is the main reason they enlarge.  There are also reactive nodes - these are lympn nodes that were enlarged because of an infection and then never returned to their normal size.  Totally benign.  So yes, just having an enlarged node by itself does not signify a melanoma recurrence.  Where was the lymph node in relation to your original primary?

Anonymous - (9/13/2017 - 8:09pm)

Thank you for your reply.It is close to my primary/pelvic/  but I also did have a recent invasive surgery and this lymph node did not show at all 3 months ago on the MRI  prior to my surgery.I was 5 weeks on antibiotic for  infection after my surgery.I also have a lots of scar tissue in that area. I've read  that the MRI are notorious for false positives.Five out of six MRI  are false positives for breast cancer due to the fibroid tissue and I wonder if that could be the case.Thanks once again,much appreciated.


The CT scan should be able to pinpoint the exact lymph node and then compare it to the size it was in previous scans. I have this going on right now myself. They did a quick comparison of a lymph node in a current scan against the same node in a previous scan in order to determine that it was larger now. Next step was to look at a PET scan from 3 months ago to see if the area had any significant uptake (an amount they would have ignored on its own but which is now relevant due to the swelling). After they have looked at all the past scans then they can decide on the next step. Best of luck. It sounds like you are a great advocate and will get the best care because of it.



2018 is a new year!

Anonymous - (9/14/2017 - 9:33am)

Thanks,Danny.Since the MRI is showing an enlarged lymph node/and the second spot/  that the CAT is not showing, they won't know untill a biopsy is done.This lymph node was not detected during my previous MRI 4 months ago.Also my oncologist could not feel or touch any lumps/mass on both locations.Wishing you good luck and thanks for the input

I can sympathize with your bad reaction to the barium contrast materials from CT. I have another melanoma buddy who has the same issues. I can't imagine suffering my way through an MRI following a CT. That issue aside.... an MRI will be more accurate with soft tissue imaging than a CT will be. Things can be missed on CT that will show up on MRI. It's good news that your oncologist has referred you to a center of excellence. I'm actually impressed that she did so! It seems more often than not that doctors find it difficult to admit when they're uncertain and should pass you along for more accurate care. An enlarged lymph node could be something as simple as a passing infection, but given you have a history of melanoma, it is safer to have it checked out. 

Anonymous - (9/14/2017 - 8:09pm)

Thanks,Niki.My enlarged lymph node measures exactly 1 cm.From what I read any lymph node over 1cm is considered abnormal /so it's an iffy size / and any lymph node over 2 cm is highly likely to be a tumor. The MRI is very sensitive to show things but can not give doctors  enough information about the nature of the densities seen on the imaging tests.I feel somewhat hopeful about the fact no hard immovable mass or lump was seen or felt upon visual  examination but given my history of melanoma they need to further investigate what these densities are  for sure .Thank you much  the input and best wishes,