Why Use PET/CT?
Why Use PET/CT?
- PET/CT changes patient management approximately two-thirds of the time
- Useful for diagnosis, staging, monitoring treatment effectiveness, restaging, guiding biopsies/surgery/radiation, following for recurrence
- Diagnosis at early stages: based on metabolic characteristics of a tumor as well as anatomical data, therefore, detection of disease is often possible sooner than with strictly anatomical exams.
- Allows physicians to characterize lesions as well as identify them.
- Accurate, sensitive, and specific whole-body staging
- Restaging: baseline PET/CT and then follow-up PET/CTs are an excellent way to follow a patient’s tumor
- The best single test for monitoring for recurrence once in remission
PET/CT can detect cancers in their earliest stages. PET/CT images the metabolic activity or function of the body’s tissues, often identifying cancerous sites before they can be detected by conventional anatomic techniques such as CT or MR. PET/CT is a powerful tool in the assessment of non-specific findings detected on x-ray, CT or MRI. PET/CT is able to more accurately characterize findings, leading to more appropriate management. Consequently, unnecessary procedures or tests that present risk and cost to the patient can be reliably avoided in many instances. PET/CT also aids in surgical planning and radiation therapy planning, leading to more focused interventions at lower risk and cost to the patient while providing a higher likelihood of success.
An essential tool in the development of cancer treatment plans, PET/CT is extremely sensitive in the assessment of possible metastatic disease. PET/CT is always a whole-body scan and therefore the presence, location, and extent of distant metastases can be determined much more accurately than by any other conventional diagnostic test. This allows the physician and patient to more tailor therapeutic options more accurately for each patient. In about two-thirds of patients, PET/CT changes the cancer stage, thereby altering treatment plans.
Once in remission, patients are regularly imaged to monitor for possible recurrence. As a single exam, PET/CT offers the most accurate method for completing this task. Post-treatment imaging is a challenge, one that PET/CT accomplishes with far greater accuracy than conventional imaging methods. Earlier detection of recurrence offers the opportunity for therapies to be administered in a more timely fashion, ultimately improving outcomes. Similarly, a negative PET/CT scan provides far greater value to the clinician and patient than negative conventional imaging.
Assessing the Effectiveness of Chemotherapy
Research indicates that PET/CT is playing an increasingly important role in assessing the effectiveness of chemotherapy by evaluating early treatment response. If a successful is demonstrated, therapies are continued with greater diagnostic confidence. If unsuccessful, the futile therapy can be discontinued earlier and alternate therapies instituted sooner, increasing the likelihood of success
PET/CT scan puts time on your side. Earlier and more accurate diagnosis and staging lead to more appropriate therapy, significantly improving the chance of success.
Cost Effectiveness of PET/CT
- PET/CT has the potential to be one exam that answers all the questions and ends a patient’s work up.
- PET/CT can aid in diagnosis and staging of cancer based on a full body exam that captures metabolic as well as anatomic data, detecting abnormalities with great sensitivity and specificity.
- PET/CT enables physicians to determine the effectiveness of chemotherapy and allows them to discontinue futile therapies. It can also allow physicians to gauge the effectiveness of radiation therapy or surgery.
- PET/CT can guide biopsies and surgeries to the most easily accessible, safest, best targets.
The benefit of PET/CT in an Initial Workup
- Locate the site of the cancer
- Determine the size of the tumor
- Differentiate benign from malignant growths
- Discover if cancer has spread
- Select treatments that are likely to be appropriate
- Monitor the success of therapy
- Detect any recurrent tumors