Results of a Lymphoma PET/CT Exam
PET/CT use a small amount of a radioactive drug, which is normally FDG: a tracer in combination with a compound such as glucose. Once injected the FDG tracer travels through the body.
FDG emits signals as it travels and eventually collects in the organs targeted for examination. If an area in an organ is cancerous, the signals will be stronger (as shown on the images) since more glucose will be absorbed in those areas. Your physician or surgeon will pick up theses stronger images.
In tissues or organs affected by lymphoma, more of the radioactive glucose will be taken up as compared to normal lymph nodes and tissues. This helps the doctors understand exactly where the lymphoma is.
Proper staging of the location and extent of the tumor is the first step in appropriate treatment. Once treated, patients are often re-staged to determine the effectiveness of the treatment. This is where PET/CT is extremely valuable. Whole Body PET/CT scans may be especially useful in detecting extra nodal sites of disease such as bone marrow, liver and spleen.