Image fusion is the very latest imaging technology that combines the anatomical detail of CT (Computerized Tomography) technology with the molecular metabolic information derived from PET (Positron Emission Tomography).
Almost everyone is familiar with CT or "CAT" scans, which have been commonplace in medicine for approximately 30 years. CT scans are great tools when looking for cancer yet they are sometimes unable to detect tiny, often sub-clinical masses. Dedicated PET imaging is a nuclear medicine procedure in which a radioactive isotope, is injected into the patient. The glucose, or "sugar" component of the FDG allows it to be "taken up" in cells seeking sugar. Because cancer cells are sugar-seekers, a disproportionate amount of FDG is captured within malignancies, making even tiny tumors visible on PET scans.
PET therefore, succeeds where conventional CT fails, because it provides for the imaging of very small tumors, and while a diagnosis of cancer cannot be made without a biopsy, PET can prove to be a strong indicator. PET has also proven very useful in staging cancer patients, sometimes eliminating the need for surgery.
At the SOMC Cancer Center we are able to utilize the CT/PET image that has been taken and combine it with our treatment planning CT. This is very helpful to your radiation oncologist because he/she can design your treatment around the cancer that is visualized on your combined CT/PET image. In essence, it provides the best of both the CT and PET worlds and matches to our radiation treatment plan.
Who do you call if you have questions?
Call the SOMC Cancer Center at (740) 356-7490 or toll free 1-888-722-8787, or e-mail us if you have questions.