The Month of June is the International Cancer Survivor month. Since official operationalization on 10th January 2022, KUTRRH – IMIC has been a game changer in areas of early diagnosis, accurate staging of Cancer and determining effectiveness of treatment through the PET/CT imaging services.
What is PET/CT scan
A PET/CT scan is a nuclear medicine imaging test that combines positron emission tomography (PET) with x-ray computed tomography (CT) imaging in a single test to evaluate how the body works. PET/CT scans are particularly useful in the treatment of cancer, especially for increasing the accuracy of diagnosis. During a PET/CT scan, a small amount of a radioactive drug (tracer) is injected to the patient to identify areas with abnormal metabolic or biochemical action and thereby detect diseased cells. Doctors rely on the PET/CT scan reports to diagnose, monitor, and treat cancer and achieve better treatment outcomes. There are several types of PET/ CT scans but the most common is the fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) scan which uses a tracer that is processed in the body in the same way as the glucose in the food we eat.
Preparing for a PET/CT scan
A PET/CT scan is an outpatient procedure with a patient going home the same day. The entire procedure takes approximately 3 hours, but it is advisable not to plan other procedures or blood tests after the scan. Also wear comfortable clothing, preferably with few metallic elements. Preparing for a PET/CT scan begins with fasting for 6 hours prior to the test, and patients are only allowed to drink water, avoiding exercising for 24 hours before the scan, a controlled diet for 12- 24 hours before the scan especially if the patient has diabetes, detailed explanation of medications and previous treatment received. For the FDG PET/CT scan, a blood glucose check is performed before the test. Upon arrival for the scans, patients may be requested to change into a hospital gown before the procedure . After asking routine questions the radioactive drug (tracer) is injected through the vein on arm/hand and the patient is required to sit/lie still in a quiet room for about 55 – 60 minutes to allow uptake of the radiotracer in the body. This is followed by the PET/CT scan, which takes about 25 minutes. During the scan, it is important to lay still, as any movement can cause blurred images. If the movement affects the quality of the scan, a patient might be asked to repeat the study
Importance of PET/CT scan
Your doctor may request for a PET/ CT scan to establish a cancer case.
Turn Around Time for Results/Report
The PET/CT results are ready as soon as the scan is completed. A soft copy (stored in a DVD) is ready for collection before a patient leaves.