Phoenix Molecular Imaging
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About PET/CT Imaging
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a major diagnostic imaging modality used predominantly in determining the presence and severity of cancers. It is currently the most effective way to check for cancer recurrence.
Studies demonstrate that PET offers significant advantages over other forms of imaging such as CT or MRI scans in diagnosing disease. Several hundred thousand clinical PET patient studies are performed annually around the country.
PET images demonstrate the chemistry of organs and other tissues such as tumors. A radiopharmaceutical, such as FDG (fluorodeoxyglucose), which includes both sugar (glucose) and a radionuclide (a radioactive element) that gives off signals, is injected into the patient and its emissions are measured by a PET scanner.
PET in Oncology
PET is considered particularly effective in identifying whether cancer is present or not, if it has spread, if it is responding to treatment, and if a person is cancer free after treatment. Cancers for which PET is considered particularly effective include:
Early Detection: Because PET images biochemical activity, it can accurately characterize a tumor as benign or malignant, thereby avoiding surgical biopsy when the PET scan is negative. Conversely, because a PET scan images the entire body, confirmation of distant metastasis can alter treatment plans in certain cases from surgical intervention to chemotherapy.
Staging of Cancer: PET is extremely sensitive in determining the full extent of disease, especially in lymphoma, malignant melanoma, breast, lung, colon and cervical cancers. Confirmation of metastatic disease allows the physician and patient to more accurately decide how to proceed with the patient’s management.
Checking for recurrences: PET is currently considered to be the most accurate diagnostic procedure to differentiate tumor recurrences from radiation necrosis or post-surgical changes. Such an approach allows for the development of a more rational treatment plan for the patient.
Assessing the Effectiveness of Chemotherapy: The level of tumor metabolism is compared on PET scans taken before and after a chemotherapy cycle. A successful response seen on a PET scan frequently precedes alterations in anatomy and would therefore be an earlier indicator of tumor response than that seen with other diagnostic modalities.