What is PET-CT?
PET stands for "Positron Emission Tomography".
It is an advanced imaging technique that uses very small amounts of radioactive tracer called "FDG" (similar to sugar), to produce images showing how your body is functioning. You may already be familiar with CT (Computed Tomography), which uses x-rays to produce pictures showing structures in the body. By combining these two techniques in one scanner, a PET-CT scan provides important information that can help your doctor plan the best treatment for you.
What is a PET-CT scan used for?
PET-CT has now become an invaluable tool for investigating a wide range of conditions. It has been shown to be particularly useful in the management of many types of cancer. More recently, doctors have further developed a number of uses for PET-CT to help with diagnosing a host of non-cancerous conditions including early onset of Alzheimer’s disease and ischaemic heart disease.
In the management of cancer, PET-CT has been shown to be useful in the following scenarios:
1. Assessing the degree of spread of a tumour. This is known as ‘staging’; Often, the first chance of treating the disease is the best chance. PET-CT has made a significant difference in detecting early spread of tumour to glands and distant sites. This can have a potentially large impact on your treatment plan.
2. Helping to decide whether a lump inside the body is likely to be malignant or not.
3. Helping doctors to find the site of a tumour which has spread into a distant gland.
4. Helping doctors decide whether the treatment given is working effectively. Helping doctors to plan treatment (for example, radiotherapy) more accurately.
PET-CT can also help doctors by guiding them to the best site for a biopsy. Helping doctors in cases where they are concerned that a treated tumour may be recurring.
Preparing for your scan
In order to obtain the best quality scan, a little preparation is needed beforehand. At Midland PET-CT we have made the process as simple as possible. In order to help, we have prepared a patient information leaflet to guide you through the process. Once we have received a referral from your doctor, we will also contact you by telephone to further explain the process and answer any questions that you may have. If you have any questions about your scan, please don’t hesitate to contact us.