What is PET CT?

Cobalt Health Careers

PET CT explained

PET/CT scans are used to diagnose cancer and to see if it has spread to other areas of the body (stage). PET/CT is also a very effective tool in supporting the diagnosis of dementia.

PET/CT scans are primarily used to diagnose cancer and to assess the spread of the cancer (stage). This enables the planning of the most effective treatment. They can also be used to diagnose some conditions that affect the normal workings of the brain such as dementia. PET scanners work by detecting the radiation given off by a substance that is injected into the arm called a radiotracer as it collects in different parts of your body. In most PET scans a radiotracer called fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) is used, which is similar to naturally occurring glucose (a type of sugar) so your body treats it in a similar way. By analysing the areas where the radiotracer does and does not build up, it’s possible to work out how certain body functions are working. For example, using FDG in the body’s tissues can help identify cancerous cells because they use glucose at a much faster rate than normal cells.

A CT scan is also performed by the scanner which provides high quality anatomical images of the body. The PET/CT scanner then fuses these images together to provide 3D images showing both the function and anatomy of the body. The new PET/CT scanner can carry out a PET/CT scan in only 10 minutes.