Positron emission tomography (PET) scans 一 which rely on a radioactive tracer to highlight both typical and atypical metabolic activity 一 can show the most minuscule changes in your organs and tissues. Because of this, PET scans can often reveal important information about a disease, including cancer, before other tests can.
That being said, sometimes, a single PET scan might not provide all the answers you need. Here's why you might find yourself in a situation where the team here at Excel Diagnostics & Nuclear Oncology Center suggests that more than one PET scan is necessary.
Tracking changes throughout your treatment
PET scans are often used to help diagnose an initial condition, but they can also track changes in that same condition over time.
Imagine you're battling a chronic illness or undergoing treatment for a serious medical condition. A PET scan can serve as a powerful tool to monitor how your body responds over time. By comparing multiple scans taken at different intervals, your Excel Diagnostics team can assess whether the treatment is working effectively or if the condition is progressing. This insight allows for adjustments to your treatment plan so that you receive the best care possible.
Monitor primary tumors and watch for mets
While having more than one PET scan might seem excessive, it can be a crucial step in ensuring your needs are being met, especially when you’re battling cancer. Our team here at Excel Diagnostics & Nuclear Oncology Center combines PET scans with a computed tomography (CT) scan.
A PET/CT scan provides images of your entire body and only takes about 30 minutes. While the PET scan captures detailed images of subtle changes in your body's metabolism due to the presence of irregular cells, the CT images enable the Excel Diagnostics team to identify the precise position and dimensions of diseased tissue or tumors. Together, the PET scan and the CT provide:
- Detection of small lesions or tumors (PET scan)
- Location and size of anomalies (CT scan)
Over the course of your treatment, your PET scans are invaluable when it comes to monitoring tumor growth and spread.
After completing a course of treatment, follow-up PET scans can determine whether the treatment was successful in achieving the desired outcomes. These scans help your team assess whether any residual disease remains and if further interventions are required.
The bottom line: More than one PET scan can help personalize your care
Every individual is unique, and so are their responses to medical interventions. While your first PET scan can help diagnose a condition, additional PET scans can provide a clearer picture of:
- If your condition is progressing, regressing, or stabilizing
- How your body is reacting to treatment
- If the treatment was successful
- If there is any evidence of disease post-treatment
Regardless of why you need a PET scan or how many you need, it’s normal to have questions, especially when you’re preparing for the tracer. Our team is happy to answer any questions you have as you prepare for your PET scan, so don’t hesitate to reach out!
Questions? You can reach our Houston, Texas, office, call us at 713-781-6200. You can also use our online form to schedule your appointment.