Radiologists and other physicians can now determine with complete confidence whether specific cells are cancerous, exactly where cancerous cells are located, the stage of the cancer and whether cancer has metastasized.
PET/CT is highly sensitive and can detect cancer at its earliest stages. More treatment options are available with early detection and early diagnosis gives patients a greater chance for survival. Identifying which masses or spots are not malignant is equally important, eliminating unnecessary surgery.
Planning & Treatment
Because PET/CT accurately differentiates benign masses from malignant ones, surgical oncologists can use the image as a road map for surgery. They will know specifically what to remove (lymph glands, lesions, masses) and exactly where these structures are located.
Medical oncologists use information from a PET/CT to plan treatment and they rely on subsequent scans to monitor its effectiveness. This enables them to make adjustments during the course of treatment. They can discontinue an ineffective chemotherapy, shorten the duration and adjust doses—all with the goal of maximizing effectiveness.
PET/CT allows radiation oncologists to achieve precise targeting of tumors while minimizing radiation exposure of surrounding tissue. PET/CT is invaluable for one of the most medically sophisticated forms of radiation therapy—IMRT, which is performed at the Sibley Cancer Center.
A PET/CT scan is the only reliable way to differentiate scar tissue from recurring cancer. It is, therefore, critical for determining how effective a treatment has been and following a patient’s long term, post-treatment progress.