PET/CT Scanner Detects Tumors with Greatest Accuracy Available
Anne Arundel Medical Center’s new PET/CT scanner gives patients the most advanced tool available for detecting cancer.
AAMC is one of only three hospitals in the country and the only one in the state to have a PET/CT (Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography) scanner, a state-of-the-art diagnostic tool that gives physicians a clearer view of the body’s internal structures. The PET/CT helps detect tumors and other diseases earlier and more accurately.
AAMC is one of only three hospitals in the country and the only one in the state to have a PET/CT (Positron Emission Tomography/ Computed Tomography) scanner.
Dr. Angel E. Torano, a radiation oncologist at AAMC, said the PET/CT scanner merges “very complex procedures which provide a much more specific diagnosis.”
“This allows us to make better decisions as far as treatment,” he said. “And we’re very, very excited to have it.”
In addition, the advanced technology of the PET/CT scanner means a significant reduction in the number of visits to the hospital and treatments. “Often, it can reduce the need for additional procedures such as biopsies and exploratory surgeries,” said Dr. Jack VanGeffen, of nuclear medicine.
PET scans detect changes in the body’s cellular makeup, such as tumors or other abnormal physiology. CT scans allow doctors to view the internal structure of the body. Together, the two views give doctors a much better idea of what is going on in the body, enabling them to more accurately locate lesions, determine the cause and prescribe proper treatment.
“The PET/CT fusion is a comfortable, non-invasive procedure that provides greater diagnostic accuracy and confidence than either procedure achieves on its own,” Dr. VanGeffen said.
The PET/CT scanner also reduces the amount of time it takes for doctors to scan the body and make a diagnosis. Before, patients often went through a series of separate exam procedures, including biopsies and exploratory surgery.
“The new equipment can give clinicians both metabolic and anatomic information in one 30-minute scan,’’ Dr. VanGeffen said.
Linda Miller, a resident of Queen Anne’s County who suffers from esophageal cancer, went through the procedure recently to find out how much her disease had progressed. She said she was happy to have the procedure at the same hospital where she was born.
“I’m from Anne Arundel County,” she said. “I was born on Franklin Street.” Ms. Miller compared the procedure to “passing through a giant doughnut. It’s really not that bad at all,” she said. “I was surprised.”
PET/CT scanning is Medicare-approved and will be covered by most payers for the following:
Diagnosis is only one advantage of the PET/CT scan. It also can monitor the progress of treatments such as chemotherapy and ensure that the disease has not reoccurred. “It certainly makes it an exciting new development in cancer detection and diagnosis,” Dr. VanGeffen said.
The PET/CT scanner is a part of the AAMC DeCesaris Cancer Institute and is located in the Donner Pavilion at Medical Park.