Advanced PET/CT Scanner Uses Leading-Edge Technology to Pinpoint and Treat Cancer

July 2, 2009

An exciting new combination PET/CT scanner at the Cancer Center of Indiana is enhancing the experts’ ability to pinpoint a tumor’s location and target radiation more precisely than ever. As Radiation Oncologist John Bechtel, MD, explained, “Rather than giving you a picture of the inside of your body like a CT scan, PET gives more of a functional image of what’s going on in regard to your metabolism. A PET scan uses an injection of radioactive sugar introduced into the bloodstream. It is quickly taken up by the body’s most metabolically active cells, which then light up on the scan.

When our bodies are finished growing, we don’t expect the sugar to be absorbed quickly anywhere except in the heart, because the heart is always beating, and the brain, because the brain is always thinking. So, when anything other than the heart or brain lights up, it is generally abnormal.” The combination of the CT and PET scans provides an extremely valuable tool.

“One of the types of cancer for which we expect the PET/CT scans to be especially useful is lung cancer, where commonly occurring abnormalities such as scarring often lead to unnecessary, and sometimes risky, biopsies. We also believe patients with lymphomas, esophageal cancer and affected areas of the head and neck will benefit greatly.”

Naveed Chowhan, MD, FACP, CPI
Board Certified MedicalOncologist/Hematologist
Cancer Care Center, Inc. PC

“The images this combination PET/CT scanner produces give us the ability to plan radiation treatments that more accurately target tumors and spare surrounding healthy tissue. They will be particularly advantageous in treating certain types of cancers.”

John Bechtel, MD
Board Certified Radiation Oncologist
Cancer Center of Indiana