How Does a PET Scan for Cancer Work?

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan is one of the methods of properly diagnosing disease and tracking the progress of treatment. Through this process, doctors are able to examine an in-depth development of an illness like cancer.

Before taking alternative treatments, some cancer patients undergo a PET scan. It is similar to a CAT or MRI scan, but it provides more detailed information. MRI and CAT scans may detect any changes in the body’s anatomy or structures, whereas PET scans help spot any changes in how organs and tissues function. Ultimately, it gives your doctor the ability to acquire detailed and comprehensive views on the way your body works.

When undergoing a PET scan, you would lie down on a table that skids into a massive, tube-shaped channel. Before the scan, a radioactive dye is injected into your vein. It’s a tool that allows the doctors to see your internal organs in minute detail.

Preparing For a PET Scan

You will be requested not to consume or drink anything from six to twelve hours before the scheduled scan. Certain medication may also be prohibited prior the procedure.

Typically, your doctor will ask about all the medicines you take. You must disclose every medication you had–from vitamins, over the counter medicine to herbal medicine.

Caffeine in particular should also be avoided because it can result into changes on your heart’s rate during the scan.

What Happens During a PET Scan?

After the dye is injected, you will have to lie down on the table. For 45 minutes, the PET scanner will examine the your body. During the procedure, refrain from making unnecessary movements to avoid any interruption in the scanner’s reading.

The radioactive dye provides energy that is calculated into 2D and 3D visuals on the screen. The doctor in charge will study those visuals in order to gather information on your internal organs.

Allergic reactions to radioactive dye can occur, but it happens rarely. If you experience any negative reaction to the dye, inform your doctor immediately.

Advantages of a PET Scan

Because PET scans provide an in-depth observation of the patient’s body, illnesses and developments of certain sicknesses such as cancer can be detected earlier. As a result, doctors get a better understanding of the extent of the disease, which essentially guides them in prescribing proper treatment. Aside from diagnosis, PET scans can also help track the progress of treatment and evaluate whether it’s working or not.

PET scans can be helpful to cancer patients, from diagnosis to tracking your response to treatment. If you’re battling the disease, see if going through a PET scan is suitable for your condition. Discuss the benefits and possible drawbacks with your doctor, so that you can make informed and appropriate decisions along the way.

Health procedures that will allow thorough examination of the body is always great news. Thanks to breakthroughs such as PET scans, what used to be invisible to the naked eye can now be seen and used for battling a disease like cancer.