PET Scan And Its Diagnostic Value In Cancer Detection

PET scan stands for positron emission tomography. This test uses radiation to produce images of the inside of the body and its organs. A PET scan is often done as a hybrid technique while combining it with a CT Scan known as PET-CT Scan. A PET-CT Scan helps appreciate the cancer in its early stages with a greater resolution. Which helps your doctor to plan for the treatment better and in an effective  way. Thereby improving the quality of life.

Are PET And CT Scan The Same?

A CT Scan can show detailed pictures of the internals of the body and a PET scan is capable of finding and  locating the abnormal activities of the tissues and cells, thereby making it a more sensitive exam. Hence PET and CT are combined and used as a hybrid technique PET-CT Scan to give a better idea and detailed view and functioning of the body and its organs.

PET And PET-CT Scan For Cancer?

A PET Scan or a PET-CT Scan are most commonly used for detecting any abnormal activity of the cells of the body and its organs. Cancer cells show atypical activity which can be efficiently detected by the PET-CT Scan. There are other uses and benefits of the PET-CT Scan which are mentioned below-

  • To detect the reason for deterioration of mental function such as dementia. Dementia can occur in alzheimer’s disease, as well as in other neurological conditions such as
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Cerebrovascular accident (stroke)
  • It helps in visualising and evaluating the surgical site prior to the surgical procedures
  • It can detect cancer manifesting in the body
  • It can help reveal the effectiveness of ongoing cancer treatment
  • Brain trauma can be appreciated in a PET-CT Scan such as hematoma or blood clot, bleeding or haemorrhage, or low blood flow to body parts and organs.
  • It is a great tool in knowing if the cancer has returned
  • It can further detect any cancer or lesion occurring in different parts of the body such as lung, chest etc
  • It can be used to guide biopsy procedures for sample collection
  • ‘A PET-CT Scan can tell about the stage of the cancer as well
  • It can help plan radiation therapy

What To Prepare Before A PET-CT Scan?

There Are Certain things you need to do before your PET Scan which are mentioned below

  • You should not eat anything 4-6 horse prior to yourscan
  • You can drink  only clear fluids before your scan exam
  • You should not do any strenuous or heavy exercise at least 12-24 hours prior to your PET-CT Scan
  • If you have certain health conditions like diabetes, you should tell your healthcare provider prior, if your medications need to be not taken, they can guide you.
  • If you have had a PET scan before and you developed allergic reaction to the contrast medium, you should tell your doctor
  • If you are scared of closed spaces , i.e. you are claustrophobic, you should tell your healthcare provider, they might  to give you a sedative medication
  • If you cannot lay down for long and get anxious, you should tell your doctor.
  • You should tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • You cannot carry any jewellery along with you in the scan room such as earings, eyeglasses,bangles, watches etc.  better to keep the valuables at home

Will I Be Comfortable During The PET Scan?

  • The staff always make sure that you are comfortable during the exam and they take all the measures to make sure you are.
  • You can feel a little cold while you need to lie on the scan table, the staff can provide you a pillow and bedsheet if you feel so and ask for one.
  • The scan machine makes loud noises while scanning, you will be given earplugs or headphones to cancel the noise, you can always ask your technician to play soothing songs meanwhile
  • The appointment can take more than an hour also, if you are injected with a contrast medium, the contrast will take about 30 minutes tio get absorbed into your system. Then the scan will be done
  • Once the scan is finished, you will be naked to stay back, to monitor you for a while and then you will be free to go home.

What Are The Risks Of A PET-CT Scan?

A PET-CT Scan or other technique sensitive imaging techniques are usually conducted by a trained personnel and done under safety guidelines.there are still some risks or side effects that you need to be aware of, such as

  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, the radiation can be harmful to your baby. So a scan is recommended to you in these situations only when necessary
  • You can develop allergic reactions to the contrast dye, mild and moderate reactions are generally managed by medications. Only a severe allergic reaction needs rigorous care.

If you are diabetic you are less likely to absorb the contrast dye hence altering the result and readings thereby affecting the treatment effectiveness.


Finding a PET-CT Scan diagnostic centre can be a task. In order to get effective treatment and better prognosis, diseases like cancer need to be diagnosed in early stages. A PET-CT Scan is a valuable tool in helping detect cancers in their early stages. If you have any doubt regarding the positron emission tomography scan you can contact your doctor anytime. They are always available to support and guide you in the time of need.aZ

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