Patient Education

PET is a procedure that is able to detect small cancerous tumors, and also subtle changes in the brain and heart. This enables physicians to treat these diseases earlier and more accurately than if they waited for the results from other detection modalities. A PET scan puts time on your side! The earlier the diagnosis, the better the chance for successful treatment. PET offers patients hope.

  • PET can detect disease sooner and the earlier the detection, the more likely the cure! Prior to changes in structure that normally would show up on a CT or MRI scan, a PET scan can reveal metabolic changes in the body. Cancer is a metabolic process and PET is a metabolic imaging technique.
  • PET shows the extent of disease - called staging - of lung cancer, colorectal cancer, melanoma, head and neck cancer, breast cancer, lymphoma, and many other cancers. For patients whose cancer is newly diagnosed, it is important to determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body so that appropriate treatment can be started. PET can search the entire body for cancer in a single examination, with a "whole body scan," revealing any metastases as well as the primary site(s).
  • PET shows whether or not a tumor is benign or malignant. Reports in the scientific literature find that, in some tumors, PET correctly identifies detected lesions 95% of the time. Painful, costly and invasive surgery, such as thoracotomy, may no longer be necessary for diagnosis.
  • PET shows the effectiveness of therapy. It is an excellent way to monitor progress, and test recurrence of disease. One ovarian cancer patient had a PET scan when a blood test indicated a rise in her tumor marker levels, for example, but subsequent CT and MRI scans were still registering no cancer. Only the PET scan showed the new cancer. After treatment, a subsequent PET scan revealed that the cancer was gone



      Frequently Asked Questions

    • Q. Why am I having a PET scan?
      A. If your doctor has ordered a PET scan for you, it is likely that he or she wants more detailed information about a suspecious or abnormal finding on another test such as a CAT scan or MRI.
      Q. How long will it take?
      A. The exam is performed in two parts. The first part will be a small injection and time to allow the injection to be absorbed, this takes about 45 minutes. The second part involves taking the actual pictures and that takes about 45 minutes. It is best to plan on about 2 hours.
      Q. What will happen during the procedure?
      A. The nuclear medicine technologist who will perform your exam will ask you some pertinent questions about your history, explain the test to you, and offer to answer any questions you may have. You will receive a small injection of a sugar-based tracer in the arm. You will then be asked to relax quietly for about 30 minutes in a reclining chair. Next, you'll be asked to use the restroom. After that, the technologist will position you on the scanner bed. The bed will move through the scanner as it takes pictures of your body. Once the images are complete you're done!
      Q. Will I need to undress? What should I wear?
      A. No. The vast majority of street clothes are fine for PET scanning. Very large buttons or ornaments on shirts or pants may interfere and may need to be removed prior to the scan. Wear simple, comfortable clothes. Most patients dress warm; it does get cool in the scanner.
      Q. Will there be any pain?
      A. The only thing you may fell is a slight 'stick' as the I.V. needle is placed in your arm. It will not feel any different than having a little bit of blood drawn.
      Q. Is there any preparation for the exam?
      A. It is important that you not have any thing to eat or drink except water for 4-6 hours prior to the exam. Food or beverages may interfere with the absorption of the tracer. It is best to avoid unnecessary physical activity on the day of the exam prior to arriving. This may increase the amount of the tracer absorbed by the muscles which may intefere with the exam. You may take any medications not related to diabetes.
      IMPORTANT: If you are diabetic, please alert the person who scheduled your exam. Special considerations are necessary for patiens with diabetes.
      Q. Is there any risk involved?
      A. The injection you will receive has a small amount of radioactive 'tracer' in it. The radiation dose you will receive will be about the same as you would receive from a CT scan. Because the tracer has been injected, when you leave the department there will still be a small amount of radiation left. This goes away rapidly over the next few hours, and is completely gone by the next day. To be extra safe, we recommend not holding any infants or small children, or remaining close to a pregnant woman until a few hours after completing your test.




      Your Doctor has scheduled you for a PET examination. "PET" is the abbreviation for Positron Emission Tomography. A PET scan is very different from an x-ray or other scanning procedures, in that the images generated are directly related to the level of glucose or surgar in your blood. Given that Diabetes directly affects those levels, we want you to closely follow the next directions before your exam.

      If you have any questions don't worry about getting answers. A nurse or technologist from Shared PET Imaging of Florida, LLC. will contact you the day before your scan. PET is an excellent diagnostic exam and greatly enhances the ability to decide what care is best for you. Our goal is to prepare you for a comfortable procedure and produce the finest images for your doctor's review.

      • Your exam will usually be scheduled before 9:00 am

      • Do not eat anything for 4 hours prior to the exam

      • If you begin to feel sick, and attribute this to a drop in blood sugar, eat a few saltine crackers and elevate your legs

      • You may drink plenty of water

      • Please consult your Doctor on whether you should take your a.m. insulin or oral diabetic agents until after the PET exam
      • The day before your PET examination eat a normal dinner and have a bedtime snack

      • Wear socks and warm clothes, it sometimes can be chilly on the scanner

      • Write down your questions! A nurse or technician from Shared PET Imaging of Florida, LLC. will be calling you the day before your exam to answer them and help in anyway possible.





      Rest assured that the tracer used in your PET scan has a very short "half-life". This means that it does not remain in your system long, so there's no reason to avoid interacting with other people once your procedure is completed. To be extra safe:

      • Wait for two hours before getting too close to an infant or anyone who is pregnant.

      • Drink plenty of fluids and empty your bladder often over the next few hours.

      • You may resume your normal diet and medications immediately after your exam.


      We look forward to meeting you. Please call us if we can be of more assistance.





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