Especially in my group for women with Stage IV breast cancer, there is often a lot of conversation about various types of scans. Why does one woman regularly have PET scans while another has CT scans? Why do doctors order one kind of imaging test over another? This is an article from Cure Today about exactly that. Per usual, here is the beginning and then a link:
(note that in this same online issue, there are several other articles about imaging tests--plenty more to read if you are interested)
Cancer Imaging Gets Sophisticated
BY SUSAN PECK, PHD
What's coming up in the next generation of cancer imaging
While today's imaging tests provide anatomical information about a tumor's size and location, tomorrow's imaging technologies will look deeper, at the molecular make-up of cancer cells.
Some potential uses for these more advanced technologies include detecting and characterizing cancers without the need for biopsies or other invasive procedures, ensuring that drugs are reaching the tumor and promptly monitoring the effect of therapies so treatment can be changed if necessary.
Positron emission tomography (PET) is leading the way in the molecular imaging revolution. Currently, in oncology most PET imaging is performed with a radioactively-labeled form of glucose, a type of sugar, called 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose, or simply FDG. Cancer cells, particularly those from aggressive tumors, metabolize significantly larger amounts of glucose than surrounding normal tissue. FDG-PET imaging measures glucose uptake, revealing how active a cancer is and detecting whether the cancer has spread beyond its original location.