PET/CT scan is specifically used for cancer imaging. Physicians use PET/CT to diagnose cancer, determine a treatment’s effectiveness and more. By combining positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) technology, doctors can simultaneously visualize the body’s form (with a CT scan) and function (with a PET scan). This allows faster and more pinpointed cancer evaluation.
Prior to a PET/CT scan, a special dye is ingested by mouth or intravenously injected. This dye contains a tracer that lights up cancerous cells on the scan, making it easier for physicians to confirm the presence and location of cancer.
Preparing for a PET/CT Scan
When scheduled for a PET/CT scan, the referring physician will provide specific instructions on how to prepare for your procedure. In general, the following steps should be followed:
- Alert your physician if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Avoid eating before the exam.
- Do not wear jewelry or other metal objects to the exam.
- Make sure your physician and imaging technologist are aware of medications you take.
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing in case you need to change into a gown.
Checking in for a PET/CT Scan
PET/CT scans are performed inside WHS Washington Hospital located at 155 Wilson Avenue. Patients should enter through the main lobby. From there, patients register before being directed to the Nuclear Medicine waiting room on the third floor.
Washington Health System’s PET/CT testing capabilities are part of a joint venture with UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.
Our CT department is fully accredited by the American College of Radiology, which means all equipment and techniques used meet or exceed nationally accepted quality assurance and safety guidelines.