PET/CT and Breast Cancer Diagnosis and treatment

Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography is an effective procedure used in the diagnosis and cure the breast cancer in a variety of medical stages of treatment. PET/CT scans for breast are one of the most effective imaging tools in diagnosing breast cancer. As breast cancer has very little symptoms in its early stages, it is usually detected by mammograms. Mammograms are specialized x-rays that takes pictures of breasts as they are pressed between two plates. Very low levels of radiation are used in a mammogram and they are effective in detecting the presence of tumors.

However, mammogram is a form of anatomical imaging and is consequently limited as it is only able to identify physical change in the breasts. Positron Emission Tomography is a procedure that is able to detect whether or not an abnormality detected by a mammogram is benign (alive tissue and non-cancerous) or malignant (dead tissue and cancerous). Although PET imaging is not widely used in breast cancer treatment, recent medical studies have shown that in the future, PET scans may be a useful tool used in conjunction with mammograms to detect breast cancer while it is in its early stages. A recent report conducted by the “Clinical Positron Imaging Journal” showed that PET scanning had a 94% accuracy rating in detecting breast cancer compared to the 44% accuracy rating of mammography.

PET scans are a noninvasive method that involves the administration of a radioactive tracer that combines a radioisotope with a natural body compound. In breast cancer diagnosis, the radioactive tracer used in the Positron Emission Tomography procedure is Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), which combines the natural body compound glucose with the radioisotope Fluorine-18. This radioactive tracer, or radiopharmaceutical, is used in breast cancer detection as the radioactive compound that it uses has a short half-life and will disappear from the body within hours. Therefore, breast PET scans are safe and patients should free themselves of any worry about the radiation content of this procedure.


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