Lyphomas are cancers that affect the immune system. They are majorly classified into Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and each of these broad categories has various subtypes.
Positron emission tomography (PET) scans are essential when it comes to planning and managing some types of lymphoma. These scans can be used to determine the stage of cancer, patient prognosis and response to treatment.
They can be used to assess some forms of lymphoma, particularly Hodgkin lymphoma and most forms of non-Hodgkin’s most common types.
In lymphoma cases where PET scans are applicable, a scan is carried out before a treatment starts to identify the stage of the disease. In certain cases, such as when there’s aggressive lymphoma, the care team may be prompted to begin treatment before performing a PET scan.
Oncologists may suggest an interim PET scan following three rounds of chemotherapy. The purpose of this scan is establish whether the cancer has gone into remission, and if they figure out it has, then that shows the treatment if effective. If the cancer isn’t in remission, there’s need to change the treatment plan to fight the disease more effectively.
Unlike most imaging technology types such as an MRI or CT scan, a PET scan can show whether lymphoma is still active as it shows the chemical activity in the organs and tissues.
One more benefit of the PET scan is it provides the care team with information about the potential outcomes. Cancer patients whose disease gets to the remission stage after three times of chemotherapy ar likely to remain in remission the longest possible time, which provides doctors with useful information regarding additional treatment.
When the interim PET scan shows no remission for lymphoma, and the care team changes the treatment plan accordingly, another scan may be carried out after two or three extra chemotherapy rounds, to assess the progress and see the effectiveness of the treatment.