A positron emission tomography scan is known as PET scan. PET scan is a revolutionary diagnostic scan that may help in diagnosis of various conditions such as cancer. PET scan can be done as a hybrid technique combining it with CT scan.
PET-CT scan is a great diagnostic tool to help diagnose cancer also, it can sufficiently tell about the stage of the cancer as well. Stage of a cancer is a way to describe the spread of the cancer and location. Knowing the stage of the cancer can help the doctor to choose the best treatment. It can also help your doctor predict the possible recovery.
PET Scan vs CT Scan, What is the Difference Between the Two?
A CT scan produced a detailed picture of the inside of the body such as organs and tissues. A PET scan can find abnormal activity and it can be more sensitive than other imaging techniques and imaging tests. It may also show changes to your body at an early stage as compared to other imaging techniques such as MRI, CT etc..
When Does Someone Need a PET-CT Scan?
PET-CT scans are used for diagnosing cancer and its status such as–
- Diagnosing cancer.
- Decide which is the best treatment for your cancer.
- Check whether your cancer has come back.
- Find out how big a cancer is and whether it has spread ( knowing stage of the cancer).
- Decide whether you can have surgery to remove your cancer.
- Plan radiotherapy treatment.
What Happens Before a PET-CT Scan?
For getting your PET-CT scan you are given certain guidelines to follow, make sure you follow all the guidelines given to you to follow before and after the procedure.
- Diet plan- you might be told to not eat and only to drink clear fluids such as water after midnight the night before the scan. Depending on what part of the body is going to be scanned, you may need to stop all eating and drinking 4-6 hours before the scan. For some scans you can continue normal drinking and eating.
- Medication and medical history- you should always ask your doctor whether you can continue taking your medicines and supplements on the day and before the scan. Let them know if you have diabetes or other medical conditions as they can alter the test results.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding- you should inform your doctor if you think you are pregnant as the scan might put your baby at risk.
- Allergies- you should inform your doctor if you have any allergy to any drug or food, including reaction to iodine.
- What to avoid- dont do any heavy exercise like running, jogging, or weightlifting 24 hours prior to your scan. Exercise can make your scan less accurate.
- What to wear- wear loose, comfortable clothes. Clothes to be worn for scan should not have any zipper or buttons, you will be asked to remove all the jewellery and metal items you are wearing like zippers, bras and glasses. If your clothes cannot be worn during the scan, you will be provided a hospital gown to wear during the scan.
- Cost and consent- If you are concerned about the PET CT Scan Cost, you can check if your insurance will cover it. Ask how much price you need to pay. Once you reach the hospital, or centre, you will be asked to sign a consent form. The consent form states that you understand the benefits and risks of the scan and agree to have it.
How Does The PET-CT Scan Work?
Before your scan, you will be given an injection which contains small amounts of radioactive sugar called fluorodeoxyglucose-18. This substance is injected into the vein. This substance is also called FGD-18, radioactive glucose, or a tracer. Areas of the body organ that use more energy picks more sugar. Cancer cells tend to use more energy than healthy cells. The PET scan shows where the radioactive tracer is in your body.
The Ctscan takes pictures of your body from different angles. You might get a shot of dye before the X Ray. This helps some of the details show up better. A computer is then used to combine the PET and CT images. The final PET-CT scan report comes as a 3D result that shows anything abnormal, including tumours.
What happens After The PET-CT Scan?
You can do your normal activities after the scan. This includes driving. But if you were given any sedative you have to be taken home by someone else. Sometimes a contrast is given, to wash out the contrast you might be asked to drink more water for a few hours after the scan.
Any health problem becomes a concern when it progresses, but cancer, in its name itself sounds dangerous and a sleep killer, hence diagnosing it correctly and diagnosing at an early stage becomes very crucial. A specialist known as a Radiologist reads a scan report and discusses it with you. As you might get your scan report and then have to take it to your general physician to know what the report says, it is advantageous to have a radiologist specialist at the diagnosing centre only.