What is a PET Scan?

PET stands for Position Emission Tomography, and a PET scan is an innovative imaging method used to detect diseases. PET scans can help diagnosis deadly diseases, and PET scans have definitely saved lives.

The pictures produced by a PET scan enable doctors to see images that CT scans and x-rays are unable to capture. Doctors are able to watch bodily functions rather than simple pictures of the anatomy. The technological advancement provided by PET allows doctors to detect specific abnormalities, therefore enabling doctors to proceed with the best treatments for particular medical conditions.

A PET scan can be completed in approximately two hours, and a PET scan does not require hospitalization. In most cases, results of a PET scan are available the same day.

What Happens During a PET Scan?

There isn’t a lot of preparation involved in getting ready for a PET scan, but a patient must fast for at least six hours before having a PET scan.

The instruments used during a PET scan are a computer, a cyclotron, and a whole-body scanner. The function of the cyclotron is to produce radioactive isotopes which are combined with radiotracers using an automatic chemistry module.

Before a PET scan, a patient is given an injection containing a radioactive tracer. The radioactive tracer moves throughout the body. The tracers in the bloodstream collect in specific areas of the body. The whole-body scanner keeps track of the position of the tracers as positive electrons act together with the electrons within the body. This short lived radiation is detectable outside the body, and the PET scanner enables doctors to view the function and chemistry of specific organs. The computer rebuilds the images of detected radioactivity into amazing three dimensional PET scan photos.

What are Some of the Diseases Diagnosed Through PET Scan Imaging?

* Melanoma

* Breast Cancer

* Lung Cancer

* Neck and Head Tumors

* Parkinson’s Disease

* Alzheimer’s Disease

* Dementia

* Epilepsy

* Colorectal Cancer

* Ovarian Cancer

* Lymphoma

* Cancer of the Esophagus

* Pancreatic Cancer

* Brain Cancer

The Benefits of PET Scans

PET scans are far more accurate than any other type of scan available. This enables doctors to locate and assess the stage of malignant cancer before surgery, and it provides a tool for early detection if cancer should recur.

In addition, one PET scan takes the place of many other medical exams and tests, and the images produced are of the highest quality. This eliminates unnecessary treatments that could prove to be ineffective, and a PET scan provides a superior way to monitor the results of treatment in a non-invasive manner.

In the United States, where there are more than a million new diagnosed cases of cancer annually, PET scans have saved many lives. Those with a history of cancer have also greatly benefitted from the technology provided by PET scans. Many types of cancer can be cured if they are diagnosed and treated in time. PET scans enable doctors to see problems that might otherwise go unseen, and PET scans are definitely a wonderful advancement in the fight against cancer and many other life-threatening diseases.

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