Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
Positron Emission Tomography can detect cancer and other diseases earlier, more accurately and with less patient discomfort than other diagnostic procedures.
This advanced system images metabolic change before disease symptoms affect organs and physiology. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) show anatomic structures, while a PET scan visualizes activity at cellular level. Vivid computer displays highlight areas where radioactive tracer concentrates in fast-growing cancers.
Total-body PET imaging can uncover abnormalities other methods might not detect. With this information, they can intervene earlier, plan more specific treatment and monitor effectiveness. PET scans can replace biopsies for certain types of masses and avoid unnecessary diagnostic and therapeutic surgeries.
PET technology will not replace MRI and CT scans. These valuable diagnostic tools should be correlated with PET to eliminate possible false positives.
This safe, simple and easily tolerated scan begins with an injection of a small amount of radioactive tracer (a glucose-like substance that accumulates in cancer cells). During an hour of rest, it disperses throughout the body. After the patient is comfortably positioned on the scanning platform, the system produces pictures of each body section as the patient passes through the scanner’s circular opening. Some patients fall asleep during the scan, which generally takes about one hour.
PET images help the physician distinguish between malignant and benign (non-cancerous) tumors, locate cancer “hot spots,” determine the extent and stage of the disease, and track how rapidly tumors are growing. These images also are valuable in monitoring the progress of cancer treatment and the recurrence of cancer.