PET CT Scanner
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) helps healthcare providers detect cancer
and assess the effectiveness of treatment.
To schedule, call 307.688.1950.
The new PET CT provides the potential to help more local cancer patients
in a comfortable, supportive environment.
Positron emission tomography (PET) is a type of nuclear medicine procedure
that measures metabolic activity of the cells of body tissues. Used mostly
in patients with brain or heart conditions and cancer, PET helps to visualize
the biochemical changes taking place in the body. Since PET is a type
of nuclear medicine procedure, this means that a tiny amount of a radioactive
substance, called a radiopharmaceutical, is used to assist in the examination.
PET is most often used by
neurologists and neurosurgeons, and
cardiologists. Newer technology combines PET and CT into one scanner, known as PET CT.
The equipment at the
Heptner Cancer Center is a PET CT.
How does it work
- PET works by using a scanning device (a machine with a large hole at its
center) to detect photons (subatomic particles) emitted by a radionuclide
in the organ or tissue being examined.
- The radionuclides used in PET scans are made by attaching a radioactive
atom to chemical substances that are used naturally by the particular
organ or tissue during its metabolic process.
- The radionuclide is administered into a vein through an IV. Next, the PET
scanner slowly moves over the part of the body being examined and uses
the information to create an image map of the organ or tissue being studied.
The amount of the radionuclide collected in the tissue affects how brightly
the tissue appears on the image, and indicates the level of organ or tissue function.
Why is PET performed?
In general, PET scans are used to evaluate organs and/or tissues for the
presence of disease or other conditions. PET may also be used to evaluate
the function of organs, such as the heart or brain. The most common use
of PET is in the detection of cancer and the evaluation of cancer treatment.
More specific reasons for PET scans in cancer treatment include:
- To detect the spread of cancer to other parts of the body from the original
- To evaluate the effectiveness of cancer treatment
- To detect recurrence of tumors earlier than with other diagnostic modalities