Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
Positron Emission Tomography, also called PET imaging or a PET scan, is a diagnostic examination that allows the physician to pinpoint the location of cancer within the body before making treatment recommendations.
Cancer cells require a great deal of sugar, or glucose, to have enough energy to grow. PET scanning utilizes a radioactive molecule that is similar to glucose, called fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG). FDG accumulates within malignant cells because of their high rate of glucose metabolism. Once injected with this agent, the patient is imaged on the whole body PET scanner to reveal cancer growth which may have been overlooked or difficult to characterize by conventional CT, X-ray, or MRI.
Different colors or degrees of brightness on a PET image represent different levels of tissue or organ function. However, cancerous tissue, which uses more glucose than normal tissue, will absorb more of the substance and appear brighter than normal tissue on the PET images.
With the only in-house PET/CT in the area, our patients can benefit from having their test scheduled within 24 hours and, in most cases, have results the same day. That means chemotherapy and other treatments can be started sooner - allowing our patients faster recovery.