PET-CT combines Nuclear
Medicine with CAT scan which lets doctors see both what the
body looks like inside and how it works. PET-CT is used to
find certain cancers as well as identify different brain diseases.
Taking pictures inside the body is a useful way to identify
health problems. PET combines sugar with gamma rays in an
injection form which goes into the body through a vein. Cancer
cells love sugar and will take more of this injection than
the normal cells. This causes the areas where cancer is hiding
to light up so it can be found and later removed with surgery
and/or destroyed by radiation or chemotherapy. CT shows exactly
what areas of the body the cancer is hiding so that the doctor
will know where to operate and where to aim the treatment to
kill the cancer. Doctors use this tool to find cancer, kill
it, and make sure it stays dead.
The scan itself usually
takes about thirty minutes, but there are certain things a
person must do and not do before the test. First, avoid eating
sugar and foods that produce sugar in the body; such as, bread,
pasta, rice, and cereal. This diet begins at noon the day
before the test and lasts until the test is completed. Furthermore,
avoid exercise a day or two before the test.
On the day of the
test, the person is injected with the sugar and gamma ray material.
This substance has to mix within the body for one to two hours
and then the scan begins. There are no symptoms or side effects
to this material, although something sweet to eat may be desired
Experts tell us that early detection of cancer is the best hope
of a positive outcome. PET-CT is an excellent tool not only
for locating the cancer cells, but also for finding out how well
a treatment is working. If you or someone you love has been
told you may have cancer, ask your doctor if a PET-CT would be