169 Riverside Drive, Binghamton, NY 13905
Lourdes and Positron Imaging of the Southern Tier are pleased to add a powerful resource to the cancer-fighting tools of the Lourdes Regional Cancer Center. The cutting-edge advances offered by our PET scanner means that one of the latest advances in oncology diagnosis is now available in our community.
What is PET?
PET (Positron Emission Tomography) is a powerful diagnostic tool that, in many cases, renders answers that no other imaging tests can provide. This noninvasive procedure helps physicians in their diagnosis and treatment of certain diseases. Biochemical changes are detected by a PET scan after a compound that contains radioactive molecules, bound to a sugar-like substance, is injected into the body. These molecules provide the tracers that allow the measurement of metabolic activity within the body. A computer records this information and converts it into pictures for diagnostic purposes.
Most common application of PET is in the field of Oncology.
Oncology (cancer) is the most important application of PET and provides vital diagnostic information that can alter the course of cancer treatment and sometimes help in avoiding unwarranted surgery. PET provides critical information about whether a tumor is malignant or not; the extent of cancer; whether it has spread to other organs or not; monitoring of cancer recurrences; and monitoring the effectiveness of chemotherapy or radiotherapy. PET works with Lourdes CT Simulator to permit more precise treatments.
What are the benefits of PET for patients?
- Detailed diagnostic information, not available from other tests (like CT, MRI)
- Shorter time for definitive diagnosis
- Earlier detection of disease with fewer invasive diagnostic procedures
- Precise staging of the disease and better monitoring of cancer recurrences
- More effective tracking of the results of chemotherapy
- May avoid some surgical intervention
- Can contribute to lowering the overall cost of care
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. How long does it take and does it hurt?
A. In most cases you will be on the scanner table for about an hour. However, you could be in the department for up to three hours. The scan itself causes no pain. An IV line may be started in your hand or arm in order to infuse the radioactive labeled glucose.
Q. What is being injected for the scan?
A. A very small amount of radioactive labeled glucose (FDG) is infused. The amount of radiation you will receive is about the same as any other radiology procedure (CT scans or Nuclear Medicine procedures). You should not feel any side effects from the material. Most of the radioactivity will be gone by the time you leave the department.
Q. How do I prepare for the exam?
A. Eating & Medication: On the day of your exam, you should have no food for 6 hours prior to your appointment. If your schedule allows, you may eat a light breakfast. For example, 2 eggs with cheese and meat (no bread, jam/jelly, honey, fruit, fruit juice, cereal, coffee, or tea), and water only with breakfast. For the remainder of the day, you may drink only water (please remember that you will be undergoing a one hour long scan, so do not drink gallons of water. A few glasses throughout the day is fine). Please do not chew gum on the day of your exam until the scan is complete. You may take any medications prescribed by your physician.
If you are a diabetic patient, you should eat small protein only meals (i.e., meat, fish, or chicken) as needed to control your blood sugar. You should adhere to your normal insulin schedule or modify it only under your physician's supervision.
Claustrophobic: Most claustrophobic patients are able to tolerate our PET/CT due to the unique design of the "open Gantry" and shorter scan duration. Patients that are claustrophobic are encouraged to ask their physician for a mild sedative to aid them and increase their comfort level.
Activity during the scan: You should not sleep during a brain scan because sleep changes the way your brain works. If you are having a whole body scan which does not include a brain scan, you can sleep. During the scan, we ask that you are in a quiet, resting state. It is extremely important that you lie still throughout the scan.
Q. What will happen after the scan?
A. It is important that you drink as much as possible for the rest of the day and empty your bladder as often as possible. This will result in a more rapid clearance of radioactivity from your body. You can drive and resume normal activities immediately after leaving the department, unless you have received sedation.
Q. When will I get the results?
A. The final results will be given to your referring physician as soon as the images are analyzed, usually within one working day.
Q. Will my insurance cover PET?
A. Most insurance companies reimburse for PET procedures. It is important to contact our office regarding coverage. We should be able to assist you with pre-authorizations or other specific insurance company requirements.
In the rare instances that medical insurance does not include PET coverage, our policy is to work with you so that no person for whom a PET would be a critical diagnostic or treatment related tool is denied access to this technology.
For more information call Positron Imaging of the Southern Tier at 607-729-9821.