A Computed Tomography (CT) scan uses a computer and x-rays to provide cross-sectional images (often called slices) of body tissues and organs. These images can show the presence of a tumor, its extent and if it has spread beyond the local site. Once the scan is completed it is sent to an expert radiologist for interpretation.
Our oncologists then receive the results and use them to define the best course of treatment for you as well as monitoring your current cancer treatment plan. CT scans are painless, non-invasive and carry minimal risks.
Oral contrast in the form of barium or water is used when an abdomen or pelvis are scanned. IV contrast is often ordered to better define a tumor’s borders and the body’s vascular structures. If IV contrast is ordered, you will be asked to have labs drawn to assess kidney function.
A CT scan is done as an outpatient and scans take five to fifteen minutes.
PET SCAN / CT SCAN
A PET/CT scan is an advanced imaging technology that combines Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT). The PET component focuses on the tissue’s metabolic characteristics, while the CT provides structural anatomic information.
The resulting detailed three dimensional imaging helps physicians detect solid cancer tumors even in their earliest stages, making PET/CT one of the most accurate diagnostic scans available. A PET/CT scan can often reduce the need for further testing and invasive surgeries.
As part of the procedure a small amount of radioactive glucose is injected into your bloodstream. This safe, effective substance is called a “tracer” and will be distributed throughout your body. This tracer has no side effects and will be metabolized by your kidneys and excreted through your bladder. After your injection, you will be asked to relax and remain relatively still for about 45 minutes.
Next, you will be asked to lie on a table called a “scanning bed”. The bed will move slowly through the scanner while the machine detects the injected tracer.
When the imaging procedure is complete, the scanner will send the resulting information to a specially trained radiologist who reads and interprets the PET/CT and then sends the results to your oncologist who will use them in the development of your personalized cancer treatment plan.
The time of the actual scan can vary from 15 minutes for images focused on the brain, to 35 minutes for an entire body scan. We ask cancer patients and their caregivers to plan on being at the cancer center for 1 ½ – 3 hours.
There are minimal risks associated with the PET/CT imaging procedure and no side effects associated with the “tracer”.
DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING SERVICES CLOSE TO HOME
Aurora -CT and Mobile PET/CT
Boulder – CT and PET/CT
Colorado Springs – CT and PET/CT
Denver – Midtown – CT and PET/CT
Lakewood – CT and Mobile PET/CT
Littleton – CT and Mobile PET/CT
Lone Tree – SkyRidge – PET/CT
Longmont – Mobile PET/CT
Thornton – CT and Mobile PET/CT