PET is especially useful in the context of cancer because it can detect metastatic tumors that may not be visualized by other imaging techniques. It is also being increasingly used not only as a cancer diagnostic tool, but also to help physicians design the most beneficial therapies. For example, it may be used to assess response to chemotherapy. PET imaging is very accurate in differentiating malignant from benign cell growths, and in assessing the spread of malignant tumors. PET is also used to detect recurrent brain tumors and cancers of the lung, colon, breast, lymph nodes, skin, and other organs.
In some cases, patients may be allergic to the radioactive agents used for PET. A patient with known allergies should discuss this with their specialist before undergoing the PET scan.
Lisa Christenson, Monique Laberge Ph.D., The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,