Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.
Excel Nuclear Oncology Center in Houston is designated as Radiopharmaceutical Therapy Center of Excellence by SNMMI.

Detecting Prostate Cancer with PET Scans

Detecting Prostate Cancer with PET Scans

All men are at risk of developing prostate cancer, and it affects up to 13 out of every 100 American males. Some symptoms of prostate cancer can overlap with symptoms of other conditions. Pain when urinating, pain in the back, and difficulty urinating are all symptoms of many different conditions, including prostate cancer.

That’s where positron emission tomography (PET) scans come into the picture. PET scans provide images that are used to confirm the source of your symptoms, and if your PET scan reveals a prostate tumor, you can start getting the treatment you need.

Below, Dr. Ebrahim Delpassand explains what a PET scan is and how it can help detect prostate cancer.

What is a PET scan?

PET scans are imaging tests that provide relevant information about your soft tissues and organs. PET scans produce these images through the use of a radioactive drug 一 sometimes called a tracer. 

First, the tracer is delivered intravenously into your arm or hand. Cancer cells tend to absorb glucose faster than noncancerous cells, and this difference in biochemical activity makes all the difference when it comes to detecting the locations of cancerous cells. When the tracer enters your body, the cancerous cells start absorbing it quickly since they have a higher biochemical and metabolic activity. In this case, the tracer is attracted to the prostate tumor, and it shows up as bright white spots on the scan. 

The PET images can be combined with other imaging tests, such as a CT or MRI. These are called PET-CT or PET-MRI scans, respectively. 

Detecting prostate cancer with PET scans

Different radioactive tracers can be used with PET scans. Here at Excel Diagnostics & Nuclear Oncology Center, we use the tracer F-18 Axumin® for prostate cancer. Axumin (fluciclovine F 18) is a radiotracer used during a PET scan for men concerned about prostate cancer, especially men who’ve already had prostate cancer and now have elevated prostate specific antigen levels.

Although the thought of a radioactive tracer might sound intimidating, PET scans can be extremely valuable when it comes to diagnosing and treatment planning. Side effects of a PET scan with F-18 Axumin include an unusual taste in your mouth and injection site pain and redness. That being said, once your results are in, your treatment plan can start taking shape so you can get the prostate cancer treatment you need.

Preparing for your PET scan

PET scans may require a little bit of prep before your test. This may include:

Prior to your PET scan for prostate cancer, Dr. Delpassand answers all of your questions, provides you with a list of prescan instructions, and provides postscan instructions, such as drinking water.

To schedule a PET scan or to learn more about other diagnostic tests, we’re just a call or click away. You can reach our Houston, Texas, office at 713-300-4886 or through our online portal.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Why Are Digital X-Rays Better Than Traditional X-Rays?

X-rays play a big role in confirming various diseases and conditions and helping to shape your treatment plan. Although traditional X-rays were the gold standard for so long, digital X-rays are the better option. Here’s why.

The Link Between a Thyroid Disorder and Osteoporosis

Thyroid disorders and osteoporosis are two separate conditions. One affects the levels of your thyroid hormones, while the other pertains to your bone health. Yet, the two conditions have a surprising link. Read on to learn more.

What Is Nuclear Medicine?

Nuclear medicine is a speciality branch of medicine, but what does that really mean and when might you need it? Read on to learn more about nuclear medicine and nuclear medicine scans.

How Does a CAT Scan with Contrast Work?

Are you scheduled for an upcoming computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan with contrast but wondering how it works? In this blog, we answer common questions, including what contrast dye is, how it works, and how to prepare for it.

I'm Claustrophobic: How Do I Prepare for an MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an important part of diagnosing and planning for several conditions. But if you’re claustrophobic, the thought of lying in a small tube can be terrifying. These tips can help you prepare for your MRI.