PET-CT: effective cancer diagnosis
Fear, confusion and helplessness: most people perceive cancer as a death sentence. However, with timely diagnosis and treatment, many patients today recover and live in remission for many years. It is noteworthy that most of the cancer survivors are from economically developed countries like Europe and the US.
Scientists say that the mortality rate of cancer patients has decreased due to scientific advances, including improvements in technology and diagnostic equipment. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is one of the most modern informative methods of cancer diagnostics available in Ukraine. How much does the diagnosis cost? How does it differ from CT? And why this technology can save lives?
Informativeness and accuracy of diagnosis
It is an early quality diagnosis that increases all chances for successful treatment of cancer. After all, cancer diagnosed at an early stage has not yet spread in the body, which multiplies the effectiveness of treatment. It is modern diagnostic technologies that allow doctors to detect dangerous pathologies as quickly as possible.
It is worth noting that any method of radiological visualization can not have 100% sensitivity for cancer detection. Therefore, doctors often use several methods of visualization that complement each other. In addition, many similar pathologies are difficult to distinguish without high-quality, accurate diagnosis.
For example, radiological imaging cannot distinguish a small benign tumor from a malignant tumor without morphological verification. To increase the accuracy of diagnosis, it is most effective to combine several methods, doctors are sure.
Positron emission tomography is one of the most modern and accurate methods of diagnostics of oncologic diseases, which allows to detect pathologies at the earliest stages of cancer, as well as monitoring the patient's condition after treatment. PET-CT is recommended in the following cases:
- to determine the exact location of the tumor, its size and shape;
- to study the spread of cancer throughout the body before surgery;
- to make a radiation therapy plan;
- to see how the disease is responding to treatment;
- to make sure there's no recurrence.
Health is more expensive or how much does PET-CT cost in Ukraine
Positron emission tomography is quite an expensive procedure. Modern oncology clinics perform cancer diagnostics with the help of PET-CT technology for about 20,000 hryvnias. Its price is explained by the high informativeness of diagnosis, which increases the effectiveness of treatment by many times.
What is the difference between CT and PET-CT?
A iodine-containing drug is used to detect the presence of cancer cells in the body using CT, while PET-CT uses a radiopharmaceutical one.
Thus, the gamma rays of radionuclides that the CT scanner registers during PET-CT can detect tumors less than a millimeter in size. CT or MRI scanners do not allow the diagnosis of cancer pathologies at such early stages.
Is PET-CT recommended for a healthy person?
A healthy person can also undergo PET-CT diagnostics, as with the use of positron emission tomography and computed tomography, the human body receives radiation exposure ranging from 3.7 to 8 mSv. The permissible limit of radiation exposure should not exceed 20 mSv in healthy people and not more than 300 mSv in patients with cancer pathology.
Doctors recommend not to do PET-CT with contrast within 21 days after the last chemotherapy procedure, 7 days after biopsy, 60 days after surgical intervention and 90 days after a course of radiation therapy.
A doctor's referral for PET-CT, as a rule, is given after a preliminary examination with ultrasound, MRI, CT, scintigraphy, etc.. If the data obtained are insufficient, the doctor may recommend a PET scan.
The use of positron emission tomography and computed tomography allows doctors to determine the patient's condition with maximum accuracy. Despite the high cost of the procedure, it can become a key link in the correct and timely treatment of cancer, and thus save the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients. As world practice shows, innovative technologies for diagnostics play a crucial role in the successful treatment of oncologic pathologies.