PET/CT: Radiation Therapy’s Hot Little Friend


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(0.5 CE Credit) TAKE THE QUIZ! In the simplest of terms a positron emission tomography, or PET scan, is an imaging test that allows your doctor to check for diseases in your body. The scan uses a special dye that has radioactive tracers. These tracers can either be swallowed, inhaled, or injected into a vein in the patient’s arm depending on what part of the body is being examined. Organs and tissues then absorb the tracer. When highlighted under a PET scanner, the tracers help doctors see how well organs and tissues are working. The tracer will collect in areas of higher chemical activity, which is helpful because a higher level of chemical activity is often associated with disease. These areas of disease will show up as bright spots on the PET scan. The PET scan can measure blood flow, oxygen use, how the body uses sugar, and much more. In the United States, around 2 million PET scans are performed each year. After this podcast you should be able to: Understand the basic concepts of PET/CT technology Describe the patient process involved with PET/CT scanning Recall commonly utilized PET radiopharmaceuticals Describe PET applications as related to radiation therapy and to oncology patients Understand PET applications regarding cardiac and neurology studies Keywords: PET, CT, radiation therapy, nuclear medicine, cancer, treatment planning References: Church, J. (2018). The Role of PET-CT in Radiation Therapy Planning. Radiation Therapist, 27(1), 65-67.

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