PET scanning technology is a critical part of the diagnostic and staging process in many forms of cancer. This testing procedure, however, can expose staff members and their patients to radiation courtesy of the radioactive tracers required to illuminate tumors. A new testing method, however, aims to lower exposure for all involved while keeping the accuracy of the testing high.
A study conducted by Central Manchester University Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust is shedding light on a way to lower radiation exposure. Researchers there say that advances in scanner equipment made over the last decade are big enough to allow a reduction in the amount of radioactive tracer used in tumor-testing procedures. They’ve also found that more modernized testing technology enables scans to be performed faster, which further reduces radiation exposure.
To test their theory, researchers there have been using a new analysis approach involving time-of-flight information that uses faster detectors to more accurately pinpoint tumors. The results so far have shown that even with a reduction in injected radioactive dosing, the quality of the image remains high. That means the images remain well-suited for diagnostic purposes while enabling patients and staff members to lower their radiation exposure. What’s more, the shorter scan periods also drop exposure levels somewhat while enabling facilities to better utilize their testing equipment to assist more patients.
PET scanning is a vital tool in the treatment of cancer and other serious diseases. This imaging technology, however, does call for some radiation exposure. Keeping it to a minimum is important for staff members who must work around the equipment and patients that require testing to assist in their treatment. Breakthroughs in this technology are making it safer and faster for doctors to get the information they need while lowering exposure risks for medical professionals and patients alike.