Positron-emission tomography (PET) is a nuclear medicine functional imaging technique that is used to observe metabolic processes in the body as an aid to the diagnosis of disease. The system detects pairs of gamma rays emitted indirectly by a positron-emitting radionuclide, most commonly fluorine, which is introduced into the body on a biologically active molecule called a radioactive tracer. Nuclear Medicine Scans for Cancer. Other names for these tests: nuclear imaging, radionuclide imaging, and nuclear scans Nuclear medicine scans can help doctors find tumors and see how much the cancer has spread in the body (called the cancer’s stage).They may also be used to decide if treatment is working. The scan can detect the location and extent of cancer that has recurred after initial treatment and spread to other parts of the body. Prostate PET/CT scans can detect cancer earlier than either.
Since the turn of the millennium we are now using PET scans which tag radioactive glucose metabolism to evaluate the spread and activity of cancer. PET scans are more sensitive than other tests in evaluating cancer patients for many forms of cancer. Picture at the left is a PET scan showing colon cancer that has spread from the pelvis region to the liver. Some comparisons from the literature are noted below: Understanding the basics of pet scans. The PET scan on the right lights up the structures that contain cancer, thus helping prove that the cancer has already spread to these lymph nodes and changing the patient's stage from stage I to stage III and eliminating surgery as a good treatment option. For comparison pictured at far left pet and scan and breast and cancer
MRI of doctor miller on pet and scan and breast and cancer
compared middle with a typical hospital administrator and on the right a typical urologist.