- Thyroid Cancer Management
- Zevalin Therapy
- Prostacint Scan
- DEXA Bone Densitometry
- Dementia PET Imaging
What Is Nuclear Medicine?
Nuclear medicine is a specialized form of radiology. Patients are given a radioactive substance either by mouth or intravenously that collects in specific body organs. Then the gamma camera detects the energy being emitted from that substance and an image can then be captured.
Nuclear Medicine scans are typically painless and patients are exposed to no more radiation than in a common X-ray.
Images from nuclear medicine scans can assist the physician in diagnosing many conditions and disease. Assessing organ function can help physicians to detect infections, tumors, and other disorders.
How Should I Prepare for this Procedure?
Typically there is no special preparation for a nuclear medicine test. Although, your physician may ask that you miss a meal before your test if your procedure requires imaging of the stomach or gallbladder. Also, you may be directed to drink plenty of water for tests of the bones and kidneys.
How is this Procedure Performed?
The radioactive substance is a medicine called a radiopharmaceutical. The type of radiopharmaceutical that will be used is determined by the organ system of the body that is being evaluated. This is because some compounds collect in certain organs better than others. The length of time that it takes for the dye to travel to the desired organ can vary greatly depending on the type of scan. It can take as much as several days and as little as a few seconds.
A scan can generally take anywhere from 20-45 minutes. The patient must remain as still as possible while the images are being taken in order to get the clearest images possible. A series of images may be ordered to show how an organ functions over a period of time in order to get the most information possible.
What Will I Experience During My Procedure?
Aside from mild discomfort from the injection of the radiopharmaceutical in those tests that require it, nuclear medicine exams are painless. All that is required is that the patient remain still while the pictures are being acquired.
The small amount of radioactivity will usually be eliminated through the urine or stool. Any remaining radioactive material will disappear over the next few hours to few days.
Thyroid Cancer Management
For Thyroid Cancer Management Information, please click here.
Zevalin is a form of cancer therapy called radioimmunotherapy, and is indicated for the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory, low-grade or follicular B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, including patients with rituximab-refractory NHL. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in February of 2002 as the first radioimmunotherapy agent for the treatment of NHL. Click here to learn more about Zevalin Therapy.
ProstaScint® is an imaging agent that can help locate and identify the extent of prostate cancer. It also helps identify previously diagnosed prostate cancer that has spread (metastasized) to other areas within the body, such as the lymph nodes, adjacent tissue and bone. ProstaScint is a single clone (monoclonal) antibody that is combined with a small amount of radioactive material called Indium 111. Given by injection into a vein, ProstaScint circulates throughout the body and attaches to an antigen called PSMA (Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen), which is located on prostate cancer cells. Pictures or images are then taken with a special device called a gamma camera that can detect radiation given off by the Indium 111. Using this technology, pictures or images will be produced showing prostate cancer. Click here to learn more about Prostacint Scan.
In one continuous full-body scan (usually about 30 minutes), PET captures images of miniscule changes in the body’s metabolism caused by the growth of abnormal cells, while CT images simultaneously allow physicians to pinpoint the exact location, size and shape of the diseased tissue or tumor.
Essentially, small lesions or tumors are detected with PET and then precisely located with CT.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Computerized Tomography (CT) are both standard imaging tools that allow physicians to pinpoint the location of cancer within the body before making treatment recommendations.
The highly sensitive PET scan detects the metabolic signal of actively growing cancer cells in the body and the CT scan provides a detailed picture of the internal anatomy that reveals the location, size and shape of abnormal cancerous growths.
Alone, each imaging test has particular benefits and limitations but when the results of PET and CT scans are “fused” together, the combined image provides complete information on cancer location and metabolism.
The bottom line is that you can have both scans – PET and CT – done at the same time.