Having read at the weekend about people having to wait ages for a scan , rather like buses two have come along at once. In the blue corner , the long arranged CT scan due next Friday, in the red corner just had notification today about a PET-CT scan booked for next Wednesday .
Positron emission tomography (PET) and computerized tomography (CT) are both state-of-the-art imaging tools that allow physicians to pinpoint the location of cancer within the body before making treatment recommendations. The highly sensitive PET scan images the biology of disorders at the molecular level, while the CT scan provides a detailed picture of the body’s internal anatomy. The PET/CT scan combines the strengths of these two well-established imaging modalities into a single scan.
A CT scan is able to detect and localize changes in the body structure or anatomy, such as the size, shape and exact location of an abnormal growth, a sizeable tumor or a musculoskeletal injury.
A PET scan is very different from an ultrasound, X-ray, MRI, or CT scan. A PET scan allows the physician to distinguish between living and dead tissue or between benign and malignant disorders.
When disease strikes, the biochemistry of your tissues and cells change. In cancer, for example, cells begin to grow at a much faster rate. In one continuous whole-body scan, PET/CT captures images of changes in the body’s metabolism caused by actively growing cancer cells and provides a detailed picture of the body’s internal anatomy that reveals the size, shape and exact location of the abnormal cancerous growths.
The PET/CT scan begins with injection of a glucose-based radiopharmaceutical which travels through the body, eventually collecting in the organs and tissues targeted for examination.
The patient lies flat on a table that moves incrementally through the PET/CT scanner. The CT portion of the exam sends X-rays through the body which are then measured by detectors in the CT scanner.
The PET scanner has cameras that detect the gamma rays emitted from the patient, and turns those into electrical signals. These are processed by a computer to generate the images. The table moves slowly through the scanner and many sets of PET and CT images are produced.
The CT and PET images are assembled by the computer into a 3-D image of the patient’s body. If an area is cancerous, the signals will be stronger there than in surrounding tissue, since more of the radiopharmaceutical will be absorbed in those areas.
All sounds very exciting – but either way really we just want a good result . He is getting concerned about the level of pain across the top of his stomach and is now having sleepless nights imaging the tumour traveling through his body . I alternate between impersonating an ostrich and pretending no scans are due at all , whatever their alphabetical acronym, and thinking any knowledge is better than these dark imaginings.
Looks as though August 3rd is our new D-day