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Dr. Praveen Kammar

MS, MRCS, MCH

Surgical Oncologist

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Stomach Cancer | 29 March 2022

Use of CT & PET Scan in Stomach Cancer

Overview

A PET-CT scan combines a CT and a PET scan into one image. It contains extensive details on your cancer.

A CT scan combines x-rays from throughout your body to produce a two and three-dimensional (3D) image. A moderately radioactive substance is used in the PET scan to highlight parts of your body where cells are more aggressive than usual which may represent tumour nodules.

A PET-CT scan is often done as an outpatient procedure at a radiology facility. A radiologist running the scanner between 30 and 90 minutes is typical. Only the most prestigious cancer hospitals often have these scanners. As a result, you may need to go to a different hospital to get one.

PET-CT scan: Diagnosis and Staging

Use of CT & PET Scan in Stomach Cancer

CT-PET Scanner

Diagnosis:

PET scans may aid in the detection of new or returning stomach cancer. A PET scan may identify cell proliferation; however, it does not detect all cancer types. To come to a final diagnosis, further tests are often required.

Other tests may be required to establish if a radioactively active spot is cancerous or benign (noncancerous). Your healthcare practitioner will request more testing and treatment alternatives if your findings are inconclusive. 

Staging:

PET scans may detect the amount of cancer in a person’s body and how far it has progressed, known as staging. PET scans are often used in initial staging and follow-up testing to evaluate whether and how the disease is expanding since they may identify more malignant areas than CT scans alone. Your treatment strategy may be altered due to the PET scan findings. Studies have shown that in approximately 20% of patients the treatment plan changes due to the findings seen on a PET scan. 

Read Also: How to Detect Stomach Cancer Early?

What are the benefits of a PET-CT scan?

PET-CT scans are used to diagnose and treat a variety of cancers. They’re regarded to be more accurate than PET or CT scans alone when identifying cancer. PET-CT scans may assist in the following areas:

  • Cancer diagnosis
  • Determine the size and spread of a malignancy (stage cancer)
  • Determine if you are eligible for cancer surgery.
  • Choose the most appropriate cancer therapy.
  • Make sure your cancer hasn’t returned.

A PET-CT scan may also reveal the effectiveness of cancer therapy.

A scan after cancer therapy may reveal an area where it seems there is still cancer. This might be scar tissue from the malignancy eliminated by your therapy rather than cancer. A PET-CT scan may determine whether or not the tissue is cancerous.

Use of CT & PET Scan in Stomach Cancer

What can’t one detect in a CT scan or PET scan? 

A CT or PET scan cannot detect any illness less than 5mm. As a result, for certain specified findings on CT or PET scans, we recommend that the patient undergo staging laparoscopy.

PET scans cannot differentiate between non-cancerous and cancerous tissue. It just shows where the cells are actively multiplying. This could be due to trauma, infection or cancer. Hence, the findings of PET scans have to be seen in a clinical context to make the right treatment decisions. 

PET scans cannot conclusively detect tumours spread to the brain. An MRI is the best investigation to do this.

Read Also: How Serious is a Stomach Tumor?

Where to do a CT scan or PET scan? 

A high-quality CT scan or PET scan may aid with diagnosis, so get one done by an expert radiologist. The radiologist must provide you with a CD containing a soft copy of the scan.

Conclusion

Cancer diagnosis and testing may be a frightening and stressful experience. Learning about the many parts of this procedure, such as using PET scans, might help alleviate some of the worries. Be assured that nuclear imaging tests such as PET scans are generally highly safe, and the advantages of having the test exceed the risks. Any problems you may experience can always be discussed with your healthcare professional.

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