Helping high-risk breast and prostate cancer patients beat the disease or at least have an opportunity to treat recurrences and detect spreading as quickly as possible is a topic of constant study. Researchers at Stanford University say that combined imaging modalities that include PET/CT scanning technology are more accurate than alternative methods of screening for patients in the high-risk categories.
Prostate and breast cancers are among the most common forms of cancer diagnosed in the United States. While many patients with these conditions find they can be treated with relative ease, some high-risk cases do exist. Detecting metastatic disease in its earliest stage, for example, can mean the difference between mortality and survival for some patients.
To examine the benefits of combined PET/CT scanning for high risk patients, Stanford’s Division of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging recently conducted a study. The study involved a comparison of results for patients who were scanned using a whole-body MRI and patients scanned using a combined PET/CT scan. The combined test, researchers found, detected extra-skeletal disease more readily and accurately than the whole-body MRI.
While more study needs to be done on the topic, researchers say the combined test that provides a more holistic look inside the body can prove very helpful in cases where there is high suspicious for metastases. Follow up studies are planned, as well, to see if the results hold up over time.
People who are diagnosed with breast or prostate cancer will find a variety of tests standard for helping track the progression of the disease and the performance of treatments. A combined PET/CT scan may be indicated when concerns about the spread of cancer are high. The standard procedure, for now, is the whole-body scan initially. Researchers are also looking into the benefits of PET/MRI technology to help reduce radiation exposure while improving diagnostic accuracy.