Imagine if just one test could reveal what was going on inside our bodies. This is not a futuristic sci-fi novel-- after nearly 30 years of refinement, positron emission tomography (PET Scanning) is a reality. PET Scanning plays a key role in identifying cancer; diagnosing coronary disease; and examining the brain for epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, and other neurological disorders.
This revolutionary biological imaging technique allows physicians to visualize biological processes, not just anatomy. During a PET Scan, the patient is injected with a sugar solution (glucose) carrying signal-emitting tracers. As the solution travels throughout the body, it reacts with different types of cells. The scanner then records the tracer signals and converts them into three-dimensional images-- showing the biological functioning of organs and revealing disease. For instance, cancer cells process sugar more rapidly, so cancerous cells throughout the body typically appear as “hot spots,” indicating the tracer's biological reaction.
PET is now reimbursed by major health insurance carriers and Medicare. Within cancer, Medicare covers Solitary Pulmonary Nodules, Lung, Esophageal, Colorectal, Lymphoma, Melanoma, Head and Neck, Breast, and Thyroid cancers. PET Scanning can save money otherwise spent on separate tests, and help avoid painful invasive procedures. PET also aids in the cancer care to determine if Chemotherapy and/or Radiation Therapy is working. Although some feel its truest payoff is unveiling potentially dangerous activity within our bodies – allowing early treatment and better health.
For more information about PET Scanning at Elliot Hospital, visit www.nepetimaging.com, or ask your doctor about PET.