Learn More About Your PET/CT Scan

What are the procedures and why are they important?

The reason we ask that you fast for a PET/CT scan is because the injection given for this procedure (called “FDG”) is based on glucose (sugar). If a patient eats before the procedure, the glucose (sugar) level in the blood may be elevated and will interfere with the uptake of the radiotracer. To make sure that the cells of the body receives the correct amount of FDG, and to improve image quality, we ask you to fast so that there is no competition with glucose (sugar) in the blood. Yes, please inform the technologist if you ate within the last 4 hours so it can be noted on the chart. ** If you are having a PET/CT Bone scan or Cardiac PET/CT scan, you do not have to be fasting. **

PET/CT scans use a sugar-based agent to provide very high quality and detailed images. In order to work correctly, our agent must distribute on its own. If you have any calories, such as sugar, within that four hour timeframe, that will compete with our agent and significantly change the results of your test. Ultimately, this could affect your diagnosis and treatment.

However, we understand that accidents happen! If for any reason you do eat or drink anything other than water within this timeframe, please let us know. We would be happy to reschedule you in order to obtain the best possible images, which will lead to better care. Call us if you have any more questions.

Unaccompanied Minors Policy

For safety purposes, children must be accompanied by an adult at all times while at our facilities. If you must bring your child to your appointment, please arrange to bring an adult along to supervise your child during your exam.  If you are unable to bring someone along, kindly advise a member of our staff and we will work with you to reschedule your appointment.

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PET/CT Tracer Scan for the Detection of Recurrent Prostate Cancer

PET Imaging Institute is proud to announce a newly available tracer indicated specifically for Recurrent Prostate Cancer.  Prostate cancer affects one in seven men in the US, up to a third treated for prostate cancer will experience recurrent disease, most often detected only by rising Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) levels.  Often the location and extent of the disease cannot be detected by conventional imaging in the early stages of recurrence. Although there is an ever-increasing number of treatment options, an estimated 26,100 men died of the disease in the US in 2016, generally after primary local and systemic treatments for prostate cancer failed.  Current diagnostic measures are frequently unable to reliably detect the exact location(s) of disease relapse at a time when curative treatment is still possible.

What’s New About This PET/CT Scan?

Conventional imaging tools such as traditional FDG PET/CT scans and bone scans frequently fail to identify the site of recurrent disease when it comes to Prostate Cancer, presenting a serious challenge to urologists and radiation oncologists charged with the selection of secondary treatment, and causing significant anxiety for patients.

FDG-PET is of limited use in Biochemical Recurrence because uptake in Prostate Cancer is generally suboptimal until the patient has metastatic castrate resistant disease. Physiologic excretion of FDG in the bladder may interfere with image interpretation of adjacent structures in the pelvis.  Salvage Radiation Therapy (SRT) to the prostate should be initiated well before a PSA of 10 – 20 ng/mL is reached, as studies have demonstrated that outcomes are better if treatment is initiated at low (e.g.

Enter Axumin™: On May 27, 2016 the FDA approved Axumin [fluciclovine F 18 Injection; Blue Earth Diagnostics Ltd, Oxford UK] for PET imaging in men with suspected prostate cancer recurrence based on elevated PSA levels following prior treatment.  The approval of Axumin ushers in a new era of F18 PET/CT for the detection of recurrent prostate cancer in the USA.  Data submitted to FDA included results from prospective studies at Emory University and the University of Bologna and from clinical use at two sites in Norway; the pooled data for n= 595 subjects were retrospectively analyzed.  Overall, fluciclovine F 18 PET/CT detected sites of recurrence in 68% (403/595) of patients.  For patients with baseline PSA values in the lowest quartile ( 1.78 ng/mL had a positive scan, of which 58 were confirmed as positive.


A novel PET/CT tracer for the detection of Neuro Endocrine Tumors (NETs)

NETSPOT, the new tracer for Gallium 68-Dotatate scan, is the next generation of OCTREOSCAN.

It is a form of octreotide, which binds to a receptor on many NETs called the Somatostatin Receptor.  Use of NETSPOT changed patient treatment and management in 71% of patients due to greater specificity compared to Octreoscan.

Gallium PET/CT is more accurate for staging and superior to Octreoscan SPECT in the detection of overall number of lesions in the body as well as organs and bones. Gallium PET/CT also allows for calculation of standardized uptake value, has less whole body radiation, and is performed in less time versus Octreoscan.

What makes NETSPOT different?

NETSPOT™ offers superior sensitivity and accuracy compared to previously available diagnostics for NET patients. In a clinical study, NETSPOT™ demonstrated the ability to change management decisions regarding patients in 71% of cases previously imaged with Octreoscan. Saving just one patient from futile surgery can improve the treatment experience overall and significantly reduce the cost of care by reducing repetitive, often frustrating, and limitless diagnostics.

NETSPOT™ is a significant improvement over existing diagnostic tools and will enable us to more accurately stage and better manage patients.

NETSPOT™ is a novel patented kit developed by AAA for the preparation of gallium Ga 68 dotatate for injection, for localization of somatostatin receptor positive neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) in adult and pediatric patients using Positron Emission Tomography (“PET“).

This product has been designated as an orphan drug by the EMA and the FDA.

Please contact PET Imaging Institute of South Florida at 954-981-6668 for further information.

PET/CT utilizing sodium fluoride F-18 injection (18F-NaF) is a powerful imaging tool in the assessment of bony metastatic disease, which is a class of cancer metastases that occurs when a primary tumor invades the bone. Primary tumors rarely begin in the bone, so assessing for bone metastatic disease is extremely important in diagnosing other cancers.

Why Get a Bone Scan?

Some of the most prevalent cancers in the United States are commonly associated with metastatic bone disease. This is of particular clinical importance in breast and prostate cancers because of the prevalence of these diseases. 70% of breast and prostate cancer patients had evidence of metastatic bone disease. Bone metastatic disease itself may complicate a wide range of other malignancies, resulting in considerable morbidity and complex demands on health care resources. Carcinomas of the lung, head and neck, thyroid, and kidney also commonly give rise to bone metastases. It’s extremely important to diagnose this disease early on.

Bone PET/CT offers very high-resolution images of the skeleton, far greater than conventional bone scans. This is of value not only in assessing for the presence of bone metastatic disease but offers higher diagnostic confidence in excluding the presence of disease as well.

How do I preparing for a Bone PET/CT Scan?

The only preparation needed for a bone scan is purely administrative. You will be given the forms to fill out, and your radiologist will ask questions such as what medication you’re currently taking and if you have any medication allergies. You can eat and drink as normal before the test. You will be asked to take off jewelry and change into a hospital gown.

How is the Bone Scan Performed?

A tracer is injected into your veins, that the PET scan can scan your body. Typically, the whole body is scanned during this test. If the results indicate damage caused by bone cancer, further tests can be given with CT scans to help diagnose the disease.

The tracer takes up to a couple hours to absorb into your body after injection. You will drink plenty of water and urinate to get the radioactivity out of your body, which ends up being less than a normal X-Ray. Once your radiologist believes the tracer has absorbed, you will lay on an examination table. The scanning device will be placed over your body and you will need to remain still. You may have to change positions at your radiologist’s request. The whole scanning process takes about an hour.

There are no special post-op requirements. You can go back to your normal activities! However, you may be asked to drink a lot of water the day of the exam. Usually, by the same day of the exam, your radiologist will forward your results to your primary care physician.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world and is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States for both men and women. The lungs act as sponges, absorbing and filtering out anything that can be harmful to you to provide clean oxygen for your body. So as you expose your lungs to more harmful substances such as particles and chemicals, you may be doing excessive harm to the health of your lungs, possibly leading to lung cancer.

Types of Lung Cancer

Non-Small Cell is the most common type of lung cancer but is slower growing than small cell. About 85% of lung cancers are non-small cell cancer. Some examples of non-small cell lung cancer include squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and large cell carcinoma.

Small Cell lung cancer is aggressive cancer that looks small and oval-shaped. This is also called oat cell cancer. This type only accounts for about 10-15% of lung cancers.

Lung Carcinoid Tumor only accounts for about 5% of all lung cancers. They are also known as lung neuroendocrine tumors. These tumors grow very slowly and rarely spread.

Risk Factors for Lung Cancer

The following increase your risk of getting lung cancer:

  • Smoking
  • Secondhand smoke
  • Being exposed to chemicals or pollution
  • Exposure to radon gas
  • Exposure to asbestos
  • Being infected with HPV
  • Having a family history of lung cancer
  • Age (the average age of diagnosis is around 70 years old)


If you experience the following symptoms that are often signs of lung cancer or another condition, talk with your doctor:

  • Chest pain
  • A cough, trouble breathing, wheezing, hoarseness
  • Blood in sputum
  • Weight loss or loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Swelling in the face or neck

Stages of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Stage I: The cancer is located only in the lungs and has not spread to any lymph nodes.

Stage II: The cancer is in the lung and nearby lymph nodes.

Stage III: Cancer is found in the lung and in the lymph nodes in the middle of the chest, also described as locally advanced disease. Stage III has two subtypes:

  • If cancer has spread only to lymph nodes on the same side of the chest where cancer started, it is called stage IIIA.
  • If cancer has spread to the lymph nodes on the opposite side of the chest, or above the collarbone, it is called stage IIIB.

Stage IV: This is the most advanced stage of lung cancer, and is also described as an advanced disease. This is when cancer has spread to both lungs, to fluid in the area around the lungs, or to another part of the body, such as the liver or other organs.

What can you do to prevent lung cancer?

The best thing you can do is to quit smoking or to remove yourself from an environment with smoking. Smoking and secondhand smoke are the biggest causes of lung cancer. Even if you’ve been smoking for years, quitting can greatly reduce your chances of getting cancer.

Regular visits with your doctor can also help with prevention, especially if you know you’re at risk. Even if you are diagnosed, it can be treated in its early stages. If you have questions about lung cancer, contact PET Imaging Institute of South Florida in Hollywood at (954) 981-6668 or in Pembroke Pines at (954) 450-2202.

Lymphoma Diagnosis in Southern Florida

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which plays an important role in the body’s immune system. In the United States, the risk of developing Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is 2.1 percent and getting Hodgkin Lymphoma is approximately 0.2 percent, and survival depends on a timely diagnosis so that treatment can be given. PET/CT scans are performed when a doctor believes that lymphoma may be present.

How PET Scans Work to Find Lymphoma

PET scans tend to be most useful in those who have Hodgkin lymphoma or high-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma because the lymphoma cells are typically more active. The PET scan will help the doctor determine which cells are cancerous and which ones aren’t. A PET scan will be combined with a CT scan, which provides accurate images of the body’s organs, lymph nodes, tumors.

When PET Scans are Used

PET scans are typically performed at the beginning or end of a treatment cycle. Before treatment begins, a PET scan is commonly used to determine what stage the lymphoma is and which parts of the body are affected. After treatment, diagnostic imaging will be performed to:

  • Determine the effectiveness of the treatment.
  • Create a future treatment plan based on the results.
  • Determine if the lymphoma has returned a few months or years after treatment.

During and After the Scan

The patient should not eat or drink anything other than water at least four to six hours before the scan. The PET scan will not be painful and should take less than an hour. Once the scan is completed, the patient will be able to go home afterward. The results of the scan will not be immediate. The doctor will typically receive the scan within a few days, determine their results, and talk to you about what the results mean.


Lymphoma Association 

Alzheimer’s Diagnosis in Pembroke Pines, FL

A more recent development in diagnostic imaging is using PET/CT scans to detect brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. In the past, detecting such brain diseases relied heavily on documenting mental decline. The issue is, by the time the disease can be confirmed, the symptoms are already in full effect and there’s no way to reverse them. Many researchers now are trying to find ways to detect Alzheimer’s and dementia early on, so possible treatment can be done to slow down or reverse symptoms.

What Causes Degenerative Brain Disease?

Diseases like Alzheimer’s are caused by continual brain cell death. A connection scientists have made is a connection between brain cell death and plaque buildup. These plaques are clusters of built up proteins called “beta-amyloid”. This kills the brain cell, and from within the dead brain cell, “tangles” are formed. These are fibers of a protein called “tau”. Normally, tau helps transport nutrients between brain cells, but in the presence of tangles, they do just the opposite.

Using PET/CT to Detect Alzheimer’s and Dementia

PET/CT scans work by using a “tracer” to detect during the scan. Each kind of scan uses a different tracer depending on what the radiologist is trying to find. For brain scans, the tracer is called Amyvid. This tracer was developed recently and approved by the FDA in 2012. It binds to those beta-amyloid proteins, the cause of brain plaque leading to brain cell death. The PET/CT scan picks up the tracker and it allows for early detection of plaque build up.

Who would be a candidate for PET/CT brain scans?

According to an article published in 2014, appropriate candidates for amyloid PET imaging evaluation would include:

  1. Patients complaining of persistent or progressive unexplained mild cognitive impairment (MCI)
  2. Patients meeting tests for possible AD but who have unclear clinical presentation, either atypical clinical course or etiologically mixed presentations
  3. Patients with progressive dementia and atypically early age of onset (defined as before the age of 65 years)

Additionally, inappropriate candidates for amyloid PET imaging include

  1. Patients who are 65 years or older and meet standard clinical criteria for probable AD
  2. Those whose severity of disease has to be determined
  3. Those undergoing imaging solely based on a family history of dementia or presence of other risk factors for AD, such as the ApoE-ε4 gene
  4. Patients with a cognitive complaint but no clinical confirmation of impairment
  5. Those undergoing imaging in lieu of genotyping for suspected autosomal mutation carriers
  6. Asymptomatic individuals
  7. Those undergoing imaging for nonmedical use, such as insurance coverage and legal or employment screening.

Prostate Cancer Scanning

The prostate is a gland that is only found in men that is used to assist in reproduction and sperm cell growth and production. It grows during puberty due to the rapid increase in male hormones and can sometimes slightly grow with age, but mostly stays about the size of a walnut.

Prostate Cancer Overview

The most common type of prostate cancer is adenocarcinoma, which is cancer that starts in the gland cells. There are other, more rare types of prostate cancer such as small cell carcinoma, sarcomas and neuroendocrine tumors, but most of the time a prostate cancer patient suffers from adenocarcinoma.

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in men. Approximately 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in the U.S. Luckily, 5-year survival of prostate cancer is up to over 99% and deaths have reduced greatly due to overall awareness and advancements with treatment.

Prostate Cancer Signs and Diagnosis

Many patients don’t experience any symptoms, especially in early stages. More severe prostate cancer patients can experience:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Erectile Dysfunction
  • Urinary Incontinence
  • Pain in the spine or hips

Some of these symptoms can also just be symptoms of benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), so it’s really hard to detect. Therefore, it’s extremely important to get screened by either digital rectal exam (DRE) or prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test.

PSA – This method is usually for men in early stages without symptoms and is the first test done most of the time.

DRE – In this method, the doctor will probe for lumps on the prostate with a lubricated glove. If you do have prostate cancer, this way is good to detect which side the cancer may be on, rather than just knowing whether you have cancer or not.

Axumin (fluciclovine F 18 Injection) scan – PET/CT Tracer Scan

Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer

The following risk factors can increase your chances of getting prostate cancer:

Age – Prostate cancer is most common in men after the age of 50, and 60% of cases are men over the age of 65. There’s not a lot of reason to get examined before the age of 40-50.

Race – Prostate cancer is more prominent in African Americans

Family History – Some evidence suggests that prostate cancer may be a genetic factor and inherited. Having a direct relative with prostate cancer increases your risk

Diet – It’s not a definitive factor, but some studies link men who eat a lot of red meat and high-dairy products and eat less fruits and vegetables have more of a risk to develop prostate cancer.

Treatment for Prostate Cancer

Once you are diagnosed with prostate cancer, it is important to work closely with doctors to go over your case and discuss the best treatment option for you. Some of those include:

  • Active surveillance to monitor cancer growth or lack thereof
  • Surgery to remove the cancerous cells
  • Radiation therapy
  • Minimally-Invasive Prostatectomy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Cryosurgery
  • Vaccine treatment
  • Bone-directed for cases where the cancer has spread to the bones

Treatment is done entirely on a case-by-case basis. Consult with your doctor after you’re diagnosed to discuss what the best option may be. Prostate cancer can be easily treatable if detected early and avoided altogether if the right precautions are taking. Visit for specific information on prostate cancer prevention on treatment

Regular visits with your doctor can also help with prevention, especially if you know you’re at risk. Even if you are diagnosed, it can be treated in its early stages. If you have an questions about prostate cancer, contact PET Imaging Institute of South Florida in Hollywood at (954) 981-6668 or in Pembroke Pines at (954) 450-2202.

General Patient Checklist

  1. Refrain from eating or drinking at least 4 hours prior to your scan, with the exception of plain water (no flavored waters).  Also restrict your caffeine intake 24 hours prior to your exam. (IF (and ONLY IF) you are a Cardiac PET Patient, you may eat a light meal 4 hours prior.)
  2. If your appointment is in the afternoon, you may eat a light meal 4 hours prior to your appointment time.
  3. Bring your most recent PET scan, CT scan, MRI, Bone scan films and/or Biopsy Reports, along with any other recent studies.  Any films that you bring with you will be returned to you as soon as possible.
  4. If you are unable to keep your appointment, please notify us as soon as possible.
  5. Dress in warm, comfortable clothing.  Our scanner room tends to be quite cool in order to maintain proper equipment operating temperature.
  6. You will be asked to remain on the scan table for approximately 30 minutes.  If you feel this may be a problem, please feel free to contact us prior to your appointment date so that we may discuss this.
  7. Allow approximately two hours total to complete the study. (This will allow time for forms to be reviewed and/or filled out almost an hour for the uptake of the injected radiopharmaceutical and approximately 30 minutes on the scan table.)
  8. On the day of your exam, take your pill medications with water only.
  9. If you are a diabetic, it is imperative that you call the Center for further instructions.

Ready To Schedule An Appointment?

Call us at (954) 981-6668 or fill in the appointment form.