PET Scanning

The Cancer Center utilizes mobile PET scanning services. PET images contain information about tissue function or metabolism. Physicians utilize PET scans for diagnosing, staging, and evaluating treatments for cancer patients.

What is Positron Emission Tomography (PET)?

Your physician has ordered a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan. PET images can provide important information about many conditions affecting the heart, brain, and other organs, which will help doctors plan an appropriate treatment for you.


PET images are different than those from more conventional imaging equipment, such as X-ray, CT, ultrasound, or MRI. PET images contain information about tissue function.
The Cancer Center utilizes mobile PET scanning services. Physicians utilize PET scans for diagnosing, staging, and evaluating treatments for cancer patients.


How much time should I allow?

Patients should expect to be in the PET unit for one and a half to three hours. The actual scan itself takes less time.

Can I eat or drink before the scan?

This depends on the type of study, but typically the patient will be asked not to eat anything after midnight the night before the scan. Usual preparation involves fasting for six hours prior to the scan. It is good to drink water, but avoid all beverages with caffeine and sugar.

Preparation

  • For your comfort and peace of mind of the patient, be sure to:
  • Tell the physician if the you are pregnant or thinks you might be, or if you are a nursing mother.
  • Wear comfortable clothing.
  • Do not wear clothing with metal, like jeans.
  • Tell the doctor if you are diabetic.
  • Leave valuables at home, but you may wear hearing aids, glasses and dentures.
  • Take any prescribed medicines on the day of the scan unless instructed not to do so.
  • Ask the doctor about eating after midnight on the day prior to the scan.
  • Avoid all beverages with caffeine and sugar.

The Procedure

To begin the procedure, a small amount of radioactive glucose injected into the bloodstream. There is no danger from this injection. Glucose (also known as sugar) is a common substance every cell in the body needs in order to function. Radioactive glucose must pass multiple quality control measures before it is used for any patient injection. The radiation exposure associated with PET is similar to that associated with a conventional CT scan.

After the injection, patients wait approximately one hour while the injected material is distributed throughout the body. Then, the patient will be asked to lie on a table that passes slowly through the scanner. The scanner resembles a CT scanner, but has a much larger opening. Some people fall asleep during the scan.

How will I feel afterward?

There are no side effects from the injected tracer. If you have a heart scan, you may feel flushed.

How do I see my results?

The studies are read by a radiologist after the PET scan is completed. You will receive the results from your physician at your follow-up appointment.

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