PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Fox Chase Cancer Center is the only
institution in the Greater Delaware Valley now offering patients the newest in
imaging technology called PET/CT scanning. PET/CT is the fusion of two
advanced technologies that combine detailed images of a patient's internal
anatomy together with a unique view of cell metabolic function, aiding
physicians in detecting and accurately diagnosing various cancers.
"PET/CT is the most sophisticated imaging equipment available and we're
very excited to now offer this new technology to our patients," says Lee P.
Adler, MD, chief of nuclear medicine and senior member at Fox Chase Cancer
Center. "This technology will allow us to optimize the treatments we offer
patients and ultimately achieve greater success in their care."
PET stands for positron emission tomography and it detects changes in
cellular function -- how cells are utilizing nutrients like sugar and oxygen.
Areas with a high degree of metabolic activity have a greater chance of being
cancerous. A computerized tomography or CT scan allows physicians to see the
internal or anatomical structures within the human body. Together these two
technologies make up the revolutionary PET/CT scan that enable Fox Chase
physicians to view metabolic activity and pinpoint the location of abnormal
lesions to target the disease more precisely.
"When used alone the PET and CT scans are good diagnostic tools, but when
combined, they're much superior," says Adler. "The advantage here is the
cancer is highlighted on the computer screen. We're able to pinpoint the
location of the cancer, determine the extent of the disease, and evaluate the
effectiveness of the patient's treatment," says Adler.
The PET/CT unit will be used at Fox Chase to determine if tumors are
benign or malignant, to examine if prior therapy has been effective, and to
detect if cancer has spread to other parts of the body. This technology will
be particularly useful to more accurately diagnose and stage cancers of the
lung, colon, breast, esophagus, and head and neck.
Before undergoing PET/CT, patients receive an injection of a sugar
substance called fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG). This substance travels to cells
throughout the entire body and is completely harmless. Since most cancerous
tumors are highly metabolic, more of the FDG sugar substance goes to the
cancer than to the normal tissue. During the procedure, the patient lies flat
on a table that moves through a wide opening in the machine while the PET/CT
images are taken. The areas within the body that absorb the FDG sugar are
highlighted on the PET/CT computer screen indicating that cancer is present.
"We traditionally use CT scans to diagnose patients with cancer, however,
we don't always know how extensive the disease is until we operate," says
Melvyn Goldberg, MD, chief of Fox Chase's thoracic surgery program. "With
PET/CT, we'll be able to more accurately stage our patients and avoid
diagnostic surgeries. The PET/CT has the capability of finding cancers
including those that have spread to other organs that are 8 millimeters in
size, which is a huge improvement over CT alone," explains Goldberg.
The PET/CT unit, purchased from General Electric, is located in Fox Chase
Cancer Center's radiology department. Currently, Medicare and most major
insurance companies reimburse for PET/CT. Breast cancer cases will be covered
by Medicare beginning in October, 2002.
Fox Chase Cancer Center, one of the nation's first comprehensive cancer
centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1974, conducts basic
and clinical research; programs of prevention, detection and treatment of
cancer; and community outreach. For more information about Fox Chase
activities, visit the Center's web site at www.fccc.edu or call
Sue Montgomery Madden
MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here
SOURCE Fox Chase Cancer Center