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11/8/2004 1:50:00 PM CENTRAL
Updated: 10/20/2005 10:58:23 AM CENTRAL
For more information, contact Barb Nelson.

LRH Acquires PET Imaging system for early cancer, Other Disease Detection

PET scanning more accessible for diagnosing disease in the local area

Lake Region Healthcare Corporation announced today that it will enhance its diagnostic imaging capabilities with the addition of a new, state-of the-art positron emission technology (PET) system, which assesses the presence and extent of several diseases, including early and highly accurate detection of most types of cancer.

PET is an imaging procedure that provides physicians with information about the body’s chemistry, cell function and exact location of disease. The precise images obtained with PET are not available with other technologies, such as CT, MRI or x-ray. The difference lies in the ability of PET to study body function rather than giving radiological images of anatomy or body structure.

The PET scanner allows physicians to diagnose and determine the extent of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy, and damage to cardiac muscle after a heart attack.

For oncology patients, PET is used to determine the exact location and stage of cancerous tissue and can prevent unnecessary surgery and biopsies and inappropriate treatments. “PET will have a major impact on our clinical evaluations of cancer patients, and in many cases will enable our physicians to begin treatment earlier and increase the odds for successful patient outcomes,” said Dr. James Matter, member of the Fergus Falls Medical Group and Lake Region Healthcare radiologist.

Introduction to PET

PET is a medical diagnostic, imaging procedure that provides physicians with information about the body’s chemistry, cell function, and location of disease – information not seen through CT, MRI, X-ray, blood test, or physical examination. Unlike CT or MRI, which look at anatomy or body structure, PET studies body function or the biology of diseases.

What PET is Used For

PET scans are used by physicians in the fields of oncology, cardiology, neurology, and psychiatry to show various disease states. PET can help your oncologist tell if a tumor is cancerous. PET enables the cardiologist to screen for heart disease and evaluate damage from heart attacks. PET images can also be used to detect the early signs of neurological diseases.

Technology of PET

As a nuclear medicine technique, PET involves a combination of biochemistry and technology. Cells in the body rely on glucose as an energy source, and typically, cells of the body that require more fuel (such as actively growing cancer) will metabolize glucose at a faster rate than other cells. A radioactive form of glucose called fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) is injected into, and distributed throughout, the patient's body. The PET scanner then tracks and records the signals the FDG emits.

A computer then reconstructs the signals into whole-body images that show areas throughout the body where diseases are present. Areas that are metabolizing more FDG than others will show up on the resulting images.

Origin of PET

PET technology as we know it today was developed in 1973 at Washington University St. Louis. Dr. Michael Phelps, with the University of California at Los Angeles, headed a team that built the first PET scanner.

The accuracy of PET scanning eliminates inappropriate treatments as well as the need for unnecessary surgeries and biopsies and, thus potentially saving countless lives and billions of dollars every year. Dr. R. Edward Coleman, M.D. of Duke University Medical Center states, "PET makes a major impact on the clinical evaluation of cancer patients at Duke University Medical Center. The accuracy of PET scans in the diagnosis and staging of lung cancer has resulted in the routine use of PET scans for these indications. PET has resulted in more cost-effective management of patients by avoiding unnecessary biopsies and surgeries."

It is estimated there are 300,000 PET scans performed annually for all diseases and approximately over 450 PET scanners are in service throughout the world. To receive a PET scan a patient should ask any physician charged with the patient care to order a PET scan.