PET (Positron Emission Tomography) is a powerful diagnostic tool that, in many cases, renders answers that other imaging tests may not provide. This non-invasive procedure helps physicians with their diagnosis and treatment of some types of cancer, heart disease, and diseases associated with the brain. Biochemical changes are detected by a PET scan after a compound that contains radioactive molecules, bound to a sugar-like substance, is injected into the body. These molecules provide the tracers that allow the measurement of metabolic activity within the body. A computer records this information and converts it into pictures for diagnostic purposes.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PET FOR PATIENTS?
- Detailed diagnostic information not available from other tests like CT and MR
- Shorter time for definitive diagnosis
- Enhanced ability to detect disease with fewer invasive diagnostic procedures
- Improved staging of the disease and better monitoring of cancer recurrences
- More effective tracking of the results of treatment therapy
- Less extensive surgeries and avoidance of some surgeries
- Lower overall cost of care
WHY ARE PET AND CT USED TOGETHER?
PET/CT represents the next level of diagnostic imaging power for oncology. PET detects metabolic signals in the body while CT provides a detailed picture of the internal anatomy, revealing the location, size, and shape of cellular activity. Alone, each imaging test is effective for a wide variety of applications. But when the results of PET and CT scans are “fused” together, the combined image provides complete information on cancer location and metabolism.