Searching for, finding and treating cancer just got a whole lot more exact here in Siouxland. It's thanks to a new machine at the June E. Nylen Cancer Center.
This is the PET/CT Scanner. The CT, or Computed Tomography, part of the machine is your typical CAT scan. "With the CT you have the detail and the anatomic detail to see the very tiny structures, and now you've added the PET, which is giving you the metabolic activity of the tumors together," said Dr. Steven Saulsbury. That means you can see if the tiny mass the CT machine picked up is really a cancerous tumor, or possibly just scar tissue or another non-cancerous mass.
For the PET, or Positron Emission Tomography, scan a patient is injected with radio-tracer glucose. Cancer cells burn the sugar glucose at unusually high rates, which will then be picked up on the read out. It helps doctors see exactly where the cancer is, and how big it is, so biopsy, therapy and surgery are more accurate. "It is able to guide therapy and to see how is treatment progressing, even after in some cases one or two treatments, if it be chemotherapy or radiation therapy or other medications, and can show this is having a dramatic response then we need to keep going down that path, or conversely we need to change treatments and start trying something new," said Dr. Saulsbury.
This is the first time the two machines have been meshed in to one. The scan at the June E. Nylen Cancer Center takes around 20 minutes and is much like having a CAT scan done.
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