Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is an extremely valuable tool for early diagnosis of conditions like cancer and other tumor growth, and certain brain conditions. PET/CT scans can help doctors pinpoint these conditions much earlier than other types of medical imaging technology. That’s because PET scans show a molecular-level picture of the patient’s body, allowing doctors to visually identify living and dead tissue, and to see the difference between benign and malignant tissue. A PET/CT scan can detect problems long before they might show up on a CT scan alone, which shows an anatomical view, that may not reveal an abnormal growth until it has grown larger. Early diagnosis means early treatment, and a greatly increased chance for successfully restoring the patient to good health.
Most often, PET/CT scans are used in oncology to help assess a newly diagnosed cancer patient, form an effective treatment plan, and to monitor the patient’s progress throughout the course of treatment. Initially, your doctor may refer you for a PET/CT scan to pinpoint the location where the cancer began and identify or rule out any additional places where it may have spread. Using non-invasive PET and CT imaging in combination can also help reduce or eliminate the need for exploratory surgery or biopsies.
For more information on this and other radiology procedures, please visit www.radiologyinfo.org.