What Is a PET-CT Scan?
Our diagnostic imaging center uses PET-CT scans to diagnose heart disease, brain disorders and, most often, cancer. It can help doctors find cancer in the body, see if cancer has spread or check if a tumor is shrinking with treatment.
For cancer patients, a technologist injects a substance called a tracer. Cancer cells absorb more of this tracer than other cells do because cancer cells are more active and use more nutrients. For dementia or heart disease, doctors use a tracer with a substance that binds to the plaque that causes these diseases.
Next, a scanner detects the radioactivity in the body. In a PET scan image, cancer cells or other disease markers show up as brighter spots.
Today, almost all PET scans happen at the same time as a CT scan, which shows the structures of the body. This combination provides more context than a PET scan alone – showing doctors exactly where the cancer is within the body.