A PET (positron emission tomography) scan is a kind of imaging test that gives your doctor first row seats to examining your body for diseases or conditions that may otherwise not be easily visible or detectable.
To conduct a PET scan, a special kind of material is injected into the body, which carries radioactive tracers. These tracers then become highlighted under a PET scanner, and provide input to your doctor as to the real state of your organs and tissues. It is generally used for a variety of conditions, such as heart problems, brain disorders, or even issues with the central nervous system, but also, it is mostly used for the detection of cancer.
What makes the PET scan such a critical tool in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer is that it is able to show problems in your body down to the cellular level. With this kind of privileged information readily accessible to your doctor, they can have a clearer perspective of what kind of disease they are actually dealing with.
PET Scans and Cancer
Apart from identifying that there is cancer in your body, what’s even more crucial is that the PET scan can actually determine the stage of the cancer. It can also show if it has already metastasized or spread to the other parts of the body, offering you a comprehensive view of your health’s actual condition.
Your doctor will then base their decision as to what kind of treatment they will offer or provide you with based on the information that they will derive from the PET scans. Another thing that a PET scan can do is to identify which are scar tissues and which are active scar tissues after treatment. This enables your doctor to have a clear look at the progress of the treatment, what changes were made, or if conditions worsened.
If a cancer patient is on medication, a PET scan can also show the doctor if the body is actually responding to it or not. The next steps they will take will then again be based on the information that the PET scan provides.
From diagnosis to treatment and after-care, therefore, the PET scan plays a very important role in dealing with cancer.
Cancer: What is Cancer?, PETNET Solutions
PET Scan: Purpose, Procedure & Risks, Healthline