PET-CT (Positron Emission Tomography / Computed Tomography) enables physicians to determine exactly where a cancerous tumor is located, how far it has spread, and whether therapies being used are performing as expected.
By fusing the functional image created by the PET scan and the anatomical image of a CT scan, the PET-CT can facilitate early detection of abnormalities as small as 5 mm and determine their precise anatomic location. The images are so precise they can help reduce unnecessary tests and biopsies and guide doctors in deciding the best treatment for patients.
PET-CT scanning is superior to conventional imaging in diagnosis of various types of cancers. PET-CT is a significant tool in the management of patients’ care and treatment.
Radioactive material, called FDG-18, is a glucose (sugar) structure which cancer cells readily take up. This creates a bright glow on the image. The radioactive sugar tracer is safe and effective.
The patient is injected with FDG-18 radiotracer 60 minutes before the scan. Following the injection the patient will rest comfortably in a quiet room to allow the cells to take up the sugar structure. The PET-CT scan itself takes approximately 20 minutes.
Helpful information may be found at http://www.umm.edu/petct/patient_information.html