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PET - CT Scan
Cancer cells grow at a very fast rate and growing cells use glucose (sugar) as a primary source of energy. The faster cells grow, the more glucose is consumed. Before a PET/CT study is done, a form of glucose called FDG, is injected into the patient's body via an IV. This FDG emits particles, called positrons. The FDG positrons are consumed more in fast growing cancer cells than in normal cells. A PET/CT scan detects where positrons are being emitted from within a patient's body and provides images that map these locations. A PET/CT scan will indentify both the presence of disease and its precise location in the body.
Cancer cells grow at a very fast rate and growing cells use glucose (sugar) as a primary source of energy. The faster cells grow, the more glucose is consumed.  Before a PET/CT study is done, a form of glucose called FDG, is injected into the patient's body via an IV. This FDG emits particles, called positrons. The FDG positrons are consumed more in fast growing cancer cells than in normal cells.  A PET/CT scan detects where positrons are being emitted from within a patient's body and provides images that map these locations.  A PET/CT scan will indentify both the presence of disease and its precise location in the body.

The day before your scan:

  • Eat a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet
  • Take prescribed medications unless advised otherwise
  • Avoid caffeine, sugar, tobacco and exercise for 24-hours prior to your diagnostic scan.

NOTE: If you are pregnant, think you may be pregnant, or have diabetes, be sure to tell your physician. People with diabetes will be given special instructions at the time their scan is scheduled. Generally, PET/CT is not performed on women who are pregnant.

The day of your scan:

  • Do not eat or drink anything except water for six hours before your test
  • Take any prescribed medication, unless instructed otherwise
  • Wear warm, comfortable clothes (the scanner room is kept cool). Avoid clothes with heavy buckles or metal components
  • Please arrive at least 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment
  • If you must cancel or reschedule, please do so at least 24 hours before your appointment
  • Expect to be at our PET/CT scan center for two to three hours.

What to bring with you:

  • Your insurance card and prescription
  • Films or digital images of previous CT scans, x-rays, and prior PET exams
  • Any pathology reports

Upon Arrival:

  • After registering, you will be taken to a preparation area, where a small amount of FDG (a form of glucose), will be injected through an IV
  • You will rest quietly for one hour while the FDG circulates throughout your body. During this time, you must avoid significant movement or talking. The waiting area will have a television set so you can relax during this time
  • Your scan will take between 30 to 60 minutes

After your scan:

  • You will be offered a snack and beverage
  • You can leave immediately
  • Your activity will not be restricted. You can drive and resume your normal diet, exercise and medication routine
  • You should drink plenty of fluids to flush the FDG from your body and avoid being around infants or anyone who is pregnant for the first eight hours immediately following your scan
  • Your physician will contact you with results of the PET/CT scan