PET-CT scanner can be used in a variety of ways to diagnose cancer and helps the patient be cancer free and lead a good healthy life.
The experts at Capitol Hospital will be discussing few of the utilities of PET-CT scanner in oncology.
The first and foremost comes the diagnosis. It includes whether the tumor is malignant or benign, the part from where the cancer originated and which part of the tissue is best suited for biopsy so as to run further prognosis on it.
- To characterize a lesion to suggest whether it is benign or malignant. If it’s benign, you can know that you don’t need to worry and the tumor is not cancerous. If it’s malignant, then your doctor can diagnose this early and treatment can be started with proper tracking and monitoring.
- For the detection of a possible primary when the patient presents with metastasis.The primary tumor is the one from where the cancer cells originate. As the nearby tissues get affected, the cancer spread to other parts of the body. This is called a secondary tumor or metastasis. So, the PET-CT scanner can help us narrow down on the primary, where the cancer cells originated.
- To identify a site this is appropriate and would be best to get a tissue for a biopsy so as to determine the required roadmap of the treatment.
- Detection of malignancy when tumor markers are abnormal. Sometimes, the tumor markers are inconclusive and doesn’t give accurate result but the scanner can detect this too and help us narrow down and gives a better chance in saving a life.
After the diagnosis has been done, the next step is to assess and determine the extent of disease before the treatment is started. This is done in the staging of cancer. Staging cancer or Cancer staging is the process of determining the degree to which a particular type of cancer has developed by growing and spreading inside the cells. Usually, a number is assigned from I to IV to cancer, with I being solitary cancer and IV being cancer which has already spread to the limit of what we can measure.
Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) is a set of rules published that tells when tumors in cancer patients improve that responds, stay the same i.e. stabilize, or worsen i.e. progress during the treatment of the patient. But this is limited only to the tumor present and not the patient’s response or the degree to which the health of patient has improved. This is determined by the oncologist with the help of patient history, and imaging scans and a variety of other factors. Assessment of response to treatment during or after therapy is what PET-CT scan helps the oncologistwith.
Assessment of the extent of the disease after treatment or after confirmed recurrence.
Assessment of disease following clinical or biochemical suspicion of recurrence
FOLLOW-UP OR SURVEILLANCE
Assessment of disease in the absence of critical evidence of recurrence
RADIOTHERAPY PLANNING (RT)
When the study is used for contouring and planning the radiation fields, this is termed as radiotherapy planning.
The PET-CT scan can provide the information of a PET and a CT scan, functional and anatomical information. Clubbing this data together provides the additional edge of fusion so that irregularities on either scan can be characterized, monitored and the metabolic activity of an individual more accurately localized.