Positron emission tomography scans, or PET scans , do more than static medical imaging tests, like MRIs and CT scans. PET scans show your doctor the chemical changes that happen in the metabolism because of diseased or abnormal cells. PET scans can be used in conjunction with other medical imaging tests in San Antonio for a number of reasons, including cancer care. Pet scans are used in a number of different ways in cancer care, including the following applications.
PET scans are helpful in diagnosing cancer because they don’t simply provide anatomical imaging but also offer biological information. Through a PET scan, your doctor can see areas of your body with high rates of sugar metabolism, which can indicate an active tumor. Cancerous cells thrive on sugar, so when a PET scan is performed after a glucose injection, abnormal, potentially cancerous cells will consume the glucose faster than other parts of the body. Often, PET scans are combined with CT scans to make a cancer diagnosis both at the outset of the disease and when cancer recurs after treatment.
For patients undergoing cancer treatment, PET scans help to evaluate the effectiveness of their care plans. Through a PET scan, doctors can determine if the treatment is shrinking the tumor or if a change needs to be made to the types of treatment being used. During cancer treatment, patients may undergo multiple PET scans in conjunction with other tests designed to determine how well different treatments are working.
In order to make decisions about different treatments, doctors have to understand if cancer has spread beyond its origin point. PET scans help providers find cancer in other parts of the body that can indicate that the disease has metastasized. This process also helps doctors determine the stage of the cancer, which is an important part of making treatment decisions.