What do the images on a PET scan represent?

Different colours or degrees of brightness on a PET image represent different levels of tissue or organ function. Therefore PET scans are commonly used to detect cancer, as the scan will detect biochemical changes in the body associated with cancer as well as the extent of spread and the possible effective treatment.

How is a PET scan interpreted?

The PET scan uses a radioactive drug (tracer) to show both normal and abnormal metabolic activity. A PET scan can often detect the abnormal metabolism of the tracer in diseases before the disease shows up on other imaging tests, such as computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Do PET scan hotspots always mean cancer?

PET scans do not diagnose cancer; they only show areas of abnormal uptake of the tracer material. Other diseases can produce “hot spots,” such as infection.

What does an abnormal PET scan mean?

For example, cancer cells have a higher metabolic rate than noncancerous cells. Because of their high level of chemical activity, the cells appear as bright spots on the PET scan. When such abnormalities are detected, doctor can determine whether the cancer has spread or if cancer treatment is working.

Can a PET scan light up and it not be cancer?

PET scans will not always pick up a small cancers. PET scans light up areas of high metabolic activity that are not necessarily cancer, including areas of inflammation, infection, trauma, or recent surgery.

What does a positive PET scan mean?

FDG-positive lesions often mean cancer, but not always. A variety of lesions have increased FDG radiotracer including infection, inflammation, autoimmune processes, sarcoidosis, and benign tumors. If such conditions are not identified accurately and in a timely manner, misdiagnosis can lead to inadequate therapies.

Does a PET scan have any side effects?

However, a PET scan is totally safe and there are no potential side effects that follow it. PET scans work like this: the radioactive compound that is injected into the body requires time to travel to the area that is to be imaged.

What should I avoid after a PET scan?

Foods Not Allowed

  • No cereals.
  • No pasta.
  • No dry beans.
  • No fruit and fruit juices.
  • No sugar, honey, desserts or candy.
  • No starchy vegetables, such as peas, corn, potatoes.
  • No alcohol.
  • No nutritional shakes or smoothies.