PET Scan

Positron emission tomography (PET) scan, is an imaging test that helps reveal how your tissues and organs are functioning. A PET scan uses a radioactive drug (tracer) which accumulates in areas of higher chemical activity. This scan can sometimes detect disease before it shows up on other imaging tests. Cancer cells have a higher metabolic rate than noncancerous cells. Because of this high level of chemical activity, cancer cells show up as bright spots on PET scans. For this reason, PET scans are useful both for detecting cancer and for seeing if it has spread, seeing if a treatment is working and checking for a recurrence. However, these scans should be read carefully by your doctor, as it’s possible for noncancerous conditions to look like cancer on a scan. It’s also common for solid tumors to fail to appear on PET scans.