• 02 APR 15
    • 0

    Why PET Scans Are Important in Cancer Care

    When a doctor orders a PET scan it’s not at all uncommon for patients to be a little skittish. After all, this test with a funny sounding name isn’t used with as much regularity as common blood tests or X-rays. This test, however, opens the door for better cancer detection and treatment. It can, in fact, prove to be a lifesaver for many.

    A PET scan is also known as a positron emission tomography scan. This test uses radioactive tracers in a specialized dye to allow imaging machines to see inside the body. The scan enables doctors to do such things as measure oxygen use, blood flow and even glucose metabolism. This outpatient procedure is also incredibly helpful for enabling doctors to not only detect cancer, but also see inside to gauge its metabolism, if it’s spread and if treatments in progress are proving effective at shrinking tumors.

    There are a number of reasons why the PET scan is such an important tool in cancer care. This tool can:

    • Enable doctors to detect cancer earlier, providing a means for more successfully fighting it and stopping it in its tracks.
    • Help patients avoid the need for more invasive testing procedures. PET scan results, for example, can help patients avoid the need for biopsies if cancer isn’t indicated.
    • Enable doctors to see if cancer has spread and if more aggressive treatments or procedures may be required to save a life.
    • Help doctors see if ongoing cancer treatments are having the desired results. These images may tell doctors they are on the right track or they can signal the need for taking different actions to fight a tumor that’s already been detected.

    The PET scan is simply a tool that enables doctors to see inside the body without having to resort to more invasive measures. While it is commonly used in detection and treatment of cancer, the procedure itself is quick, painless and can reveal lifesaving information.

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