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New PET/CT technology!!


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From www.lchelp.com

4/06/04 at 03:40 PM


I would like to tell everyone about a new medical imaging test used to diagnose, stage and restage cancer patients. It will also tell if the therapy you are undergoing is working or not. It is called Integrated PET/CT. I'm sure most of you know about the PET scan, but I'd like to educate you about the integrated PET/CT scan.

Here is how the technology works:

A patient with or suspected of having cancer comes into our outpatient center. A small injection of a radioactive sugar is given to the patient. The sugar travels thru the body and gets “gobbled up” by cancer cells. Cancer cells metabolize the sugar and trap it. Since the sugar is radioactive, it gives off energies that can be captured and turned into a picture. PET scanning is not new; it has been around for over 10 years. As I mentioned earlier, the PET scan shows what is going on at the cellular level (cancer cells eating up the sugar). While this is very informative, the integrated PET/CT gives much more information to the physician so they can tailor the treatment more specifically to each patient. It works like this: When the patient lies down to be scanned, a whole body CT scan is done on the patient, which shows exemplary anatomic detail. The patient is then moved a little further into the tube to get the PET scan performed. Since these two tests are integrated into one machine, we can overlay the physiologic data (PET) with the anatomic data (CT) which will tell the patients physician exactly where the tumor is, and how they can plan their therapy to kill it. A PET/CT scan takes on average 20 minutes, while the more antiquated PET or software fused PET takes in excess of one hour, and is nowhere near as informative to the physician.

Most insurances (including Medicare) pay for PET/CT scans because they change the patient management up to 40% of the time, and may help avoid unnecessary and costly surgery.

If your physician has not suggested you get a PET/CT scan, ask them for one. This scan is extremely important in lung,colo-rectal, lymphoma, and breast cancers especially where there is mediastinal involvement or a question if there is chest wall involvement, or lymph node involvement. With the "fused" PET/CT, if there is a spot in the mediastinum, you will know exactly if it is a particular lymph node, or a mass, which is extremely important for Radiation Therapy planning or surgery. A plain PET scan or a PET scan that uses software fusion is not as accurate as an integrated PET/CT. It could make a world of difference...

I would be happy to answer any questions about the technology that I can.



God Bless,

Jason Farr


Jason L. Farr R.T. ®(MR)(CT)CNMT

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  • 3 weeks later...

PET scans are used in combination with other radiology procedures (MRI, CT, X-rays) to follow a patient that has undergone treatment. In lung cancer, to determine if the lung nodule is benign or malignant. Initial preoperative staging, re-staging or to determine recurrent and/or distant disease after surgery and radiation therapy.

Research indicates that PET is playing a growing role in tracking the effectiveness of radiation therapy. The level of tumor metabolism is compared on PET scans taken before and after radiation treatment. PET is very useful in looking for residual disease after primary treatment. Pet is extremely sensitive in determining the full extent of disease, especially lung cancer.

HOWEVER, a powerful new diagnostic imaging system called the PET/CT is a hybrid technology that combines the strengths of two well-established imaging modalities in one imaging session to more accurately diagnose and locate cancers while increasing patient comfort. It is particularly useful in cancers in the lung.

PET monitors the biochemical functioning of cells by detecting how they process certain compounds, such as glucose (sugar). Cancer cells metabolize glucose at a much higher level than normal tissues. By detecting increased glucose use with a high degree of sensitivity, PET identifies cancerous cells, "even at an early stage when other modalities may miss them". (PET cannot pinpoint the exact size and location of tumors)

CT yields a detailed picture of the body's anatomical structures by taking cross-sectional images or X-ray slices of the body. (CT may miss small or early stage tumors)

Physicians can now overlay the results of PET and CT scans performed separately to identify and locate tumors. The combined PET/CT machine allows physicians to rapidly perform both scans in one session without having to move the patient. This means physicians can precisely overlay the metabolic data of the PET scan and the detailed anatomic data of the CT scan to pinpoint the location and stage of tumors.

Clinical research has shown that in comparision to a PET scan alone, PET/CT technology provides new information that can alter a patient's treatment plan to better target the cancer in approximately one-third of the cases.

Example: the PET/CT scan of a lung cancer patient revealed not only the original tumor on the lung, which a previous CT scan had found, but an additional tumor the CT missed (a small, early stage lesion in the neck).

The scanner is used not only to detect and stage cancers but also to monitor patients' response to treatment. PET/CT is very specific and is able to distinguish cancer from non-cancer 100% of the time.

Johns Hopkins was the first U.S. hospital to install a commercial combination PET/CT scanner for use with patients in a clinical setting. The scanner is being used to detect a variety of cancers including breast, colon, lung, melanoma and ovarian cancer.

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I had a PET/CT scan done at UCLA last week, and they transferred the scan to a disc for me to take to the docs in the local community who will be doing the 3D conformal radiation treatments. Problem is that the local docs can't "read" the disc (UCLA told me the disc had it's own "reader" built in to the program, but this isn't so.) Any suggestions on how my radiation onc can access the information. I don't think my insurance will pop for another PET/CT Fusion, and because I have other abnormalities in the chest/abdomen (Polycystic Disease in the Kidneys, Liver and Pancreas) having access to the info on this disc would be a big help in mapping out a treatment field.

Thanks in advance for any information.

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I always get copies of my scans. I used to get films but lately I get CDs. I have noticed that there are 2 different types of files on the disks. One type contains the reader on the CD and it starts automatically when I insert the CD into my PC. It comes up with "eMed Image CD viewer" and tells me how to proceed. That's probably what you are supposed to have.

If you are a PC person you probably know how to use explorer to see the files on the CD. If you do then look for something like autorun.exe. If you can find it, then double click on it to see if that starts the viewer.

If not then look to see what file type the data images are. If you can identify the file type (that's the 3 letter suffix) then we can determine what to use to view them.

Let me know, OK?

Or you can just have your folks call the folks who created the disk and talk to them directly. That may be the most expeditious route to take.

Good Luck,

Dave S

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