PET / CT is the most effective imaging technique used for the diagnostics, staging or restaging malignant disease, assessment of the effects of cancer therapy, in addition to aiding the planning of radiotherapy and chemotherapy in treating most cancers. PET / CT imaging technique combines:
• PET-Positron Emission Tomography, evaluates cellular- level metabolic changes occurring in organs and tissues of the human body
• And CT - Computerized Tomography which provides detailed anatomical information.
PET / CT is mainly used in cancer imaging in oncology. However it furthermore finds its application in cardiology and the diagnostics of ischemic heart diseases, in neurology in the treatment of epilepsy and dementia, in addition to aiding the treatment of various inflammatory diseases.
What is PET / CT used for?
Early diagnosis of cancer
• Using PET / CT enables early and accurate diagnosis of cancer. It determines the exact location of the cancer cells with a size of up to 5 mm.
In certain cases it enables early diagnosis without prior biopsy or surgical tumor removal.
• PET / CT does not require prior surgical interventions in determining the cancerous mass. One exam is sufficient for the detection of the size and location of the cancer.
Diagnosis with only one examination
• PET / CT is used in detection of all types of cancers available with one exam. Simultaneously the whole body is visible as a result of the images obtained by PET / CT .
It determines the stage of the disease
• It takes one image to determine the how much the cancer has spread, i.e. to determine the stage of the disease.
Successful planning for radiotherapy and chemotherapy
• The world gold standard is to plan the treatment by integrating PET / CT in order to obtain the maximum effect of the treatment.
Monitoring the effects of the cancer treatment
• In order to increase the success of the cancer treatment, PET / CT scan is necessary before and during treatment. The purpose of the scan is to have a clear understanding on the reaction of the cancer cells to the therapy, whether they have been destroyed or continued to multiply.
Determining metastatic cancers
• PET / CT scans can determine whether the disease has spread to other organs or tissues, i.e. determine whether metastases are present. Past imaging techniques did not diagnose small size metastasis in an early stage. Using PET / CT we can promptly diagnose the cancer and start treatment at the earliest convenience.
One PET / CT scan can replace multiple medical examinations. What happens during PET / CT scan?
• Prior to performing PET / CT scan, patient should not take any food at least 6 hours before the scanning. During this period, he can drink water, preferably 1-2 cups.
A radioactive tracer - positron emitter (radiofpharmaceutical) is injected intravenously, in a comfortable environment protected from external influence.
• The dosage of the radioactive material (FDG) is very small and has no side effects.
• After injecting radiopharaceuticals, patients wait for about 45 minutes to 1 hour for the radiopharmaceutical to be distributed through the body. Scanning promptly follows.
• The process of scanning is performed in 15-30 minutes depending on the type of PET / CT imaging, the type of the pharmaceutical, the organ that is being under investigation, as well as the height of the patient. After the scanning, whole body images are obtained and the radiopharmaceutical and changes at the cellular level are registered. The images are later processed using special computer software.
Does PET / CT scanning have negative consequences ?
PET / CT scan is safe for the patients.
Scanning can be performed on children and adults, patients with implants and artificial dentures, as well as on patients with diabetes. Even though a radioactive tracer positron - emitter (radiopharmaceutical) is used in the process, radiation is minimal. The doses used are so small that they do not affect the normal body processes.
How long will it take to get the results?
After the scanning, the physician will interpret the results and write a report. This process at the Clinical Hospital “Acibadem Sistina” lasts for no more than 48 hours.