A PET Scan Is Not For Pets; It Is To Track Cancer’s Progression

PET scan, or Positron Emission Tomography, is not for pets or any animals. In some cases, it is done to take images of breast tissue to reveal malignant changes. A PET scan utilizes a tracer to view this activity. The scan can also detect other illnesses or cancers in all areas of the body, before they become more serious.

The radioactive drug can be swallowed, inhaled, or injected, depending on the target organ. The tracer circulates to all the parts of the body to detect the area disease. On a PET scan, the infected areas show up in the monitor as white spots. This method is advantageous in evaluating and revealing other condition such as heart disease, brain anomalies, and cancer. The images often come with CT or MRI to produce more detailed images.

Uses/Purposes

PET is one of the most effective ways to detect internal diseases. The images produced by PET scan offers information that is different from other kinds of screening evaluations.  PET scan that is combined with a CT scan allows your physician to come up with a better diagnosis of the potential disease inside the  body.

Cancer

  • Detects cancer cells as bright spots
  • Reveals the severity of the tumor
  • Shows the development of the treatment
  • Evaluates tumor recurrence

Aside from the breast area, the following are the types of tumors that can be detected by PET scan:

  • Cervical
  • Esophageal
  • Brain
  • Head
  • Neck
  • Lymphoma
  • Lung
  • Prostate
  • Melanoma
  • Pancreatic
  • Thyroid

 

Other Conditions

PET scans also show the decreased blood flow areas in the heart. It provides information that can help your doctor decide if heart surgery is needed. It can also be used to test different brain anomalies like seizures, Alzheimer’s, and tumors.

Risks

Pet scan uses a radioactive tracer and is placed inside your body. Too much exposure to radiation can cause harmful side effects. The tracer might do the following:

  • Can cause severe allergies, in rare circumstances
  • Can lead to abortion
  • Can be dangerous to your children during breastfeeding

Preparation

Talk to your doctor immediately when:

  • Allergies occur after the scan
  • If you’ve been suffering from flu or colds
  • If you’re receiving other treatment and other medical attention
  • If you have babies
  • If you have claustrophobia or fear in narrow places

Your physician will give you detailed advice to make sure that you’re prepared before the screening. Some hospitals conduct seminars and counseling before the test. The PET scanner is a large machine, standing upright and operated by a computer and sometimes with a built-in CT scanner.

PET is a very important state of the art tool in diagnosing and tracking disease. In terms of accuracy, clarity, and reliability, it is unsurpassed.

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