Comprehensive Guide to Pet Scan in Cancer
There are numerous diagnostic tests that a doctor might recommend if you are experiencing any symptoms of Cancer. One such test is a PET scan.
In this piece of information, we will take a quick look into what a PET scan is, when it is recommended, and how it can help.
So let’s get started.
What is a PET scan?
A PET scan or Positron Emission Tomography. It’s a type of scan that offers a better understanding of the patient’s stage of cancer to the doctor as compared to the traditional CT scan.
There are a lot of cases where patients are advised to do PET scans for conditions other than Cancer. But it is important to remember that a PET scan is primarily helpful in Cancer.
It helps doctors understand what organs are infected with the Cancer and at what stage it is and helps in the treatment.
A PET scan is a fusion scan that is a PET scan + CECT scan/ MRI scan. Fusion scan gives better information than alone Individual scan I.e. Either PET or CECT/ MRI in certain cancers.
A PET scan is not necessary for all forms of Cancer.
When is a PET scan required?
A PET scan is required in specific cancers where a doctor wants to understand the response to the treatment.
E.g., a PET scan can help determine the effects of Chemotherapy on Ovarian Cancer based on the change in the size of the lesion or/ and a change in the SUV( activity) of the tumor lesion. A PET scan is also helpful in some digestive tract cancers like Colon cancer.
In short, a PET scan is helpful where Chemotherapy is recommended. But a PET scan is not required for all cancers.
Similarly, there is another test known as a PET CT scan. This method fuses PET scans and CT scans to diagnose Cancer in patients.
But the issue is, apart from diagnosing Cancer, PET CECT also indicates any other minor infection which may not be worrisome. Due to this, sometimes the focus of the treatment shifts away from Cancer.
So, get a PET scan done only when an Oncosurgeon, medical oncologist, or radiation oncologist recommends it.
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They know its utility, and they are aware of when to get this test done. Other than that, you do not need to get a PET scan done.
What are the benefits of a PET scan?
There are numerous benefits of PET scans. E.g., if a patient has a lymph node, but it is difficult to diagnose its origin, a PET scan can be very helpful in this situation.
Apart from that, if Cancer returns in the patient post-treatment, a PET scan can be very helpful in determining the exact stage of the Cancer. It also helps determine whether the Cancer has spread to other organs in the body.
Another benefit of a PET scan is it gives us a holistic view of the body. So if a patient has Cancer in the bone, organ, or any other place, it can be diagnosed all at once. A patient does not need multiple tests.
One more benefit is the Non-contrast PET scan. This type of scan is very helpful for patients whose kidneys are not performing well. The patient is not given a contrast during the CT scan in this procedure. Instead, a PET scan is done along with a plain CT scan.
What are the limitations of PET scans?
PET scan has certain limitations too. Some of them include the following:
- It’s unable to identify small tumors in the brain, and a patient might need an MRI.
- PET scan cost in a city like Mumbai is around 10,000 to 20,000. So it can put an unnecessary financial burden on the patient.
- Although a PET scan is safe, it does expose the patient to radiation which might have some effect on the patient’s health for a longer duration.
- A PET scan is not helpful in patients who have uncontrolled diabetes. In such cases, a PET scan can give false results so not to do in uncontrolled diabetes.
We hope we have addressed many of your doubts about the PET scan. Remember, a PET scan is a good test that can help determine the occurrence and stage of the Cancer.
But it is not required for other conditions. Get a PET scan done only when your Oncologist, Surgical Oncologist, or Medical Oncologist recommends it. An unnecessary PET scan can stress you financially and cause other complications.
If you need more information related to the Cancer or PET scan, do not hesitate. Get in touch with our experts, and we will surely help you out.