A PET scan is an effective way to examine the chemical activity in parts of your body. It may help identify a variety of conditions, including many cancers, heart disease and brain disorders. The pictures from a PET scan provide information different from that uncovered by other types of scans, such as computerized tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). A PET scan or a combined CT-PET scan enables your doctor to better diagnose illness and assess your condition.
Cancer cells show up as bright spots on PET scans because they have a higher metabolic rate than do normal cells. PET scans may be useful in:
- Detecting cancer
- Revealing whether your cancer has spread
- Checking whether a cancer treatment is working
- Finding a cancer recurrence
PET scans must be interpreted carefully because noncancerous conditions can look like cancer, and some cancers do not appear on PET scans. Many types of solid tumors do appear on PET scans, including:
- Head and neck
PET scans can reveal areas of decreased blood flow in the heart. This information can help you and your doctor decide, for example, whether you might benefit from a procedure to open clogged heart arteries (angioplasty) or coronary artery bypass surgery.
PET scans can be used to evaluate certain brain disorders, such as tumors, Alzheimer's disease and seizures.
June 09, 2017
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Positron emission tomography scan