It’s a simple fact that with most forms of cancer early diagnosis is critical for improving the chances of survival. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to catch this disease in its earliest stages unless doctors have a means to truly “see” inside the body. For many, that means waiting until a more invasive biopsy is indicated. Others, however, are finding that PET/CT imaging can offer the sight required to catch cancer early or rule it out.
PET/CT imaging involves the use of a special machine that combines in a single gantry the technology involved in both a PET scanner and a CT scanner. That means the images gained by these machines can deliver a single, crisper, cleaner image that tells doctors more about what’s going on inside the body than ever before.
While PET/CT imaging isn’t effective in detecting all forms of cancer, it can be incredibly useful for some types. The most common forms of cancer this scan is used to detect include colorectal and lung, among others.
If a doctor has recommended a PET/CT scan, it’s important for a patient to understand that doesn’t necessarily mean cancer is present. This imaging is not only used to determine the location of tumors and help stage cancer, it’s also helpful for ruling out cancer in the first place. This, in turn, can help patients avoid the need for invasive procedures if the scans show clean results. It can also lead to earlier treatment if results are positive. While some additional testing procedures may be indicated, the reality is this peek inside the body can prove to be a lifesaver.
The first step in an effective battle against cancer is early detection. The use of PET/CT imaging can make this happen. If your doctor has recommended this test, be sure to ask why, but don’t fret it too much. The images that result can clear you entirely, but they may also enable you to get an edge on early detection and treatment.