"Analysis of data collected found that FDG-PET/CT is associated with a 36.5% change in the decision of whether or how to treat a patient’s cancer.
The physicians indicated that PET/CT enabled 91% of their patients to avoid future tests."
-National Oncologic PET/CT Registry
When developing a patient's treatment plan for breast cancer, a PET/CT scan first helps in determining whether cancer or a pre-cancerous condition exists. Later on, it helps in evaluating how an individual patient is responding to therapy and whether they should stay on the same treatment program.
PET/CT’s ability to more accurately assess the presence or absence of cancer, and give physicians the information needed to make the best treatment decisions, provides patients with the optimum support and information to get them through a difficult time.
PET/CT can play an important role in the treatment program of an esophageal cancer patient. First, by determining the patient's initial extent of the disease (staging), the appropriate treatment is prescribed for their condition. When imaged post-therapy, the PET/CT information can then help restage the patient to determine the next steps in treating their disease.
PET/CT in Head and Neck Cancer
PET/CT can assist physicians at various stages of head and neck cancer. In diagnosing the disease, physicians using PET/CT data often found primary H&N cancer even after other extensive evaluations failed. PET/CT is also very effective in determining the extent of disease (staging) so the appropriate treatment program is provided to the patient. Following radiotherapy, PET/CT should be the first diagnostic step to detect local recurrence.
Beyond it’s initial value in aiding diagnosis of lymphoma, PET/CT helps answer the questions “Does the patient need more treatment or not?” and ‘Does the patient have a good prognosis after this course of therapy.” PET/CT, combined with CT, offers the most accurate answers we have yet to these questions, and provides the patient with important information in making decisions about their treatment program.
PET/CT in Melanoma Cancer
PET/CT can provide important information to patients diagnosed with melanoma and their physicians in determining the extent of the disease in order to ascertain the proper treatment as well as determination of recurrence of disease after treatment.
PET/CT can assist physicians at various stages of thyroid cancer. Sometimes in the process of evaluating disease in other parts of the body, the physicians find thyroid cancer as a result of the PET/CT image data. PET/CT is also effective in determining the extent of disease (staging) so the appropriate treatment program is provided to the patient. Following radioiodine therapy, PET/CT can be an important diagnostic step to detect local recurrence.
PET/CT imaging can play an important role in the accurate assessment of myocardial perfusion, free from attenuation artifacts. PET/CT is also the gold standard for determining myocardial viability and suitability for coronary intervention.
Using PET/CT to Assess Myocardial Viability Positron Emission Tomography (PET/CT), utilizing 18-fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), is a well-recognized method to assess myocardial viability. FDG uptake equates with viability, and as many as 30%-50% of regions felt to be scar by standard nuclear tests are found to be viable with PET/CT. Additionally, categorization of myocardium as viable versus non-viable has important prognostic implications. The identification of viability on the PET/CT scan recommends revascularization, resulting in functional as well as symptomatic improvement in many patients.
Positron Emission Tomography is a non-invasive, advanced diagnostic imaging procedure that can provide unique information to aid in the differential diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease versus other dementias as well as assist with the management of stroke, brain tumors, and epileptic seizures. Since glucose is the primary source of energy for cells in the brain, the radiopharmaceutical FDG, a glucose derivative, helps to create a normal versus abnormal map of brain function, as imaged in a PET/CT scan. Distinctive patterns of glucose metabolism assist physicians in accurately diagnosing patients and treating them appropriately.