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What is a PET/CT Scan?
A PET/CT scanner combines Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Computed Tomography (CT) images. PET images show the function of cells in the body. CT images show body anatomy such as vessels, lymph nodes and organs. Combining PET and CT images helps doctors diagnose, monitor, and determine treatment for cancer. PET/CT scans can help your doctor determine the extent of cancer, which may reduce the need for biopsy or surgery.
Preparing for Your PET/CT Exam
Prepare for your exam by following the strict guidelines below. Contact the scheduling department with any questions you may have.
• Don’t eat or drink anything except plain water for 4 – 6 hours before your exam.
• Take your medication as directed by your doctor.
• Avoid rigorous activity for 24 hours before your exam.
• Dress warmly and comfortably.
• If you are diabetic, eat a small meal four hours before your exam and take your insulin, if necessary. Ensure that your glucose levels are within normal limits, or the exam will need to be rescheduled.
Make every effort to keep your appointment. If you must reschedule, notify call us, 217-479-5696, at least 24 hours in advance.
What to Expect During the Exam
In preparation for the exam, you receive a small injection of radioactive tracer. You rest comfortably for 45 – 90 minutes while the radioactive tracer moves through your body. Then the technologist brings you to the scanner. You may be asked to hold your breath for several seconds during the exam. Try to remain still while the scan is in process. The length of the exam depends upon the body area being scanned.
The radiologist will review your scans and send results to your doctor.
After your scan, you may resume your normal activity level. The injected radioactive tracer quickly leaves your body. To expedite this process, drink plenty of water.
Benefits of PET/CT
PET/CT helps doctors accurately diagnose, stage, and treat cancer. PET/CT can help determine:
• Size and location of the growth
• Whether the cancer is spreading
• The best form of treatment
• Whether therapy is working
• Whether there has been a recurrence