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Importance of PET scan in Cancer

PET scan has become one of the most widely utilised methods to diagnose almost all types of Cancer.

But what is a PET scan, how does it work, and what are its benefits?

In this blog, we have addressed all these questions to help you understand the importance of PET scans in Cancer.

Let’s get started.

What is a PET scan?

PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography. PET scan gives your Oncologists a clear idea about the presence of the Cancer, where it is spread and how the Cancer is responding to the treatment. 

Apart from this, a PET scan also indicates the possibility of the Cancer returning.

Let’s take the example of Lung Cancer for a better understanding. If the CT scan reveals that the Cancer is in the 1st stage, we send the patient for surgery.

But in 15 to 20% of the patients diagnosed with 1st stage cancer by CT scan, a PET scan will reveal metastasis in the lungs.

In this situation, surgery will serve no purpose. 

That’s why if we diagnose any cancer in the 1st stage and prepare the patient for the surgery, we confirm that the Cancer is not spread to other places with the help of a PET scan.

Apart from this, after the completion of the treatment, we perform a PET scan as a part of our follow-up procedure.

This gives us a clear picture of any new small tumours forming in the body. It’s almost impossible to identify these small tumours without a PET scan.

How does a PET scan work?

PET scan machine for  caner

The PET scan is a very simple technique. A patient is asked to get laid down in the scanner, and the technician performs a plain scan.

Then the technician performs another scan after giving the patient a dye or contrast. The distribution of the dye helps us understand the presence of Cancer in the patient’s body.

Today, there are specific PET scans are available for many cancers. In the near future, it’s possible that we might have a dedicated PET scan for each form of Cancer.

The PET scan is considered one of the greatest achievements of modern medicines, especially in the treatment of Cancer. PET scan holds immense importance in the diagnosis and post-treatment follow-up of Cancer.

Nuclear Medicine scans for the Treatment

In some cases, we are using certain scans as a treatment alternative.

For e.g.
Radioiodine therapy is used after the treatment of thyroid cancer to ablade the residual Cancer.

Similarly, we use a therapy called Lutetium PRRT therapy to ablade the prostate cancer if it is not responding to other treatments.

There is another Lutetium therapy we use to treat neuroendocrine tumours where surgery is impossible

Wrapping Up

Nuclear medicine scans are extremely important in the diagnosis, post-treatment follow-up and, in some cases, for the treatment itself.

We hope this quick guide on PET scans has offered you a much-needed insight into the technology.

In case if you need any further information about PET scans or Cancer, feel free to talk to us. We will get back to you with helpful information.

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Dr. Tushar Patil

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