Precise, Up-to-Date Diagnostic Imaging Leads to the Most Effective Cancer Treatments
The best cancer treatment starts with arming yourself with knowledge. One of the most important pieces of information is knowing exactly where a tumor is located and whether and where the cancer has spread. That is where diagnostic imaging services comes in.
At Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers, the most up-to-date diagnostic imaging is performed in-house, and provides precise information about tumors, so oncologists can define the best course of treatment for each patient.
According to Elaine McDonald, a certified nuclear medicine technologist and Director of Imaging Services at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers, that diagnostic imaging services include:
Computed tomography (CT).
A CT scan is a non-invasive procedure that uses a computer and X-rays to produce cross-sectional images of body tissues and organs. At one time, CT scans were called CAT scans, and that term is still frequently used.
Positron emission tomography (PET) scan.
A PET scan produces detailed three-dimensional images inside the body. Before the scan, a small amount of radioactive glucose, or radiotracer, is injected into the patient’s bloodstream. The patient relaxes for about an hour, then lies on a scanning bed, which moves slowly through the scanning device. Because cancer cells use glucose more rapidly than normal cells, the tumor attracts the glucose and binds to it,” causing the tumor to become visible.
At Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers, PET and CT technology is combined to produce one of the most accurate scans available, McDonald says. RMCC uses three types of PET/CT scans:
- The most common is called F18FDG. “These are used to find out the extent of the cancer, and with that, the oncologist plans the correct treatment,” McDonald says.
- F18 sodium fluoride scans are used to detect cancer that has metastasized to the bones.
- Last year, Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers became one of the first cancer centers in the nation to offer Gallium 68 Dotatate scans to determine the location and extent of the rare cancers called neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). The gallium tests were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2016.
These diagnostic scans are done both following a preliminary cancer diagnosis to determine the stage of the disease, and during and after treatment to gauge the patient’s response to therapies.
Diagnostic Imaging Services Offer Scans That Are Fast and Convenient
The good news for patients being treated at other RMCC locations is that they don’t have to travel far to have their imaging done. There’s a good chance the imaging will come to them, courtesy of a 45-foot mobile coach. The mobile PET/CT unit travels to six locations throughout the RMCC network.
Armed with information and supported by experienced experts, patients at Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers have a head start in the fight against cancer.
Learn more about RMCC’s diagnostic imaging capabilities.