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Does A Pet Scan Show Prostate Cancer

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How Is Psma Pet Imaging Different From Current Prostate Cancer Imaging

Prostate Imaging Expert on mp-MRI and PSMA PET scans for Prostate Cancer | Daniel Margolis, MD
  • Current standard technique called fluciclovine PET, involves physicians injecting patients with a synthetic radioactive amino acid.
  • PSMA PET imaging is a FDA approved scan with more precise detection of prostate cancer for better treatment planning and targeted care.
  • More effective in pinpointing and eliminating tumors not only in the prostate but also throughout the pelvis and the body in cases where the tumors have migrated.
  • Imaging with PSMA PET was able to detect significantly more prostate lesions than fluciclovine PET in men who had undergone a radical prostatectomy but had experienced a recurrence of their cancer.

What Should You Expect During A Pet Scan

Theres not much you need to do to prepare for your PET scan. Depending on the type of tracer youre getting, you might need to:

  • Avoid eating or drinking anything for 6 hours before your scan. But you can drink water and take routine medication.

  • Eat high-protein, low-carbohydrate foods for your last meal before the scan.

  • Avoid exercise for 24 hours before the scan.

The newer tracers that are specific for prostate cancer dont require any of these restrictions. So if you are having a PSMA-PET scan, you wont need to stop eating, drinking, or exercising. Your healthcare team will confirm what restrictions you may need.

The day of your PET scan, heres what to expect:

After the scan is over, youll have a small amount of tracer left in your body. You can drink a normal amount of fluid to flush the tracer out of your body. It will come out in your urine and stool over the next 24 hours. The amount of tracer you got was very small you wont need to stay away from friends or loved ones after the scan.

Why You Might Want A Psma Pet Scan

There are several advantages to getting a PSMA PET scan, including:

It can find very small tumors much better than standard tests. In one study, PSMA PET scans found 85% of metastatic tumors, compared to only 38% with CT and bone scans.

Itâs specifically linked to PSMA. So thereâs less chance the test will mistake other problems for cancer.

Itâs much less likely to make equivocal findings. This means your results will likely be more definite, one way or the other.

It guides your treatment and helps you avoid tests and treatments you donât need. For example, if your cancer has spread beyond your prostate gland, surgery to remove it wonât help.

You get less radiation than with other scans.

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Conditions Detected By Pet Scans

This imaging test is performed so that your doctor can properly assess and accurately identify any possible conditions you may have. Here are some of the things a PET scan can detect in your body:

  • Vital Functions PET scans are useful in measuring your blood sugar, blood flow, and oxygen use. This information can help point out if some organs arent functioning well.
  • Cancer Compared to healthy cells, cancer cells have a higher metabolic rate. A variety of cancer cells become visible as bright spots in the images of PET scans. PET scans can help detect cancer and how far it has spread. PET scans can show solid tumors in the brain, prostate, thyroid, lungs, and cervix. The scans can also evaluate the occurrence of colorectal, lymphoma, melanoma, and pancreatic tumors. They are also used to assess if treatment is being effective in eliminating cancer.
  • Brain Disorders Apart from finding tumors in the brain, PET scans can also see the state of a patients brain and identify disorders such as seizures, memory disorders, and Alzheimers disease.
  • Heart Disease PET scans can help your doctor assess the severity of your coronary heart disease and help your doctor determine if you require surgery. The scan can also reveal damage in the body after a heart attack, particularly if it has to do with weak blood flow in the heart.

Who Might Need A Psma Pet Scan


Your doctor may recommend it if you:

  • Are more likely to have prostate cancer that spreads. This may depend on your biopsy results and some other things.
  • Have a high PSA after prostate cancer surgery or radiation therapy. A high PSA may be a sign of cancer, but it can also be a sign of some things that arenât cancer.
  • Have a few small metastasized tumors when youâre diagnosed.

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Pet/ct Scans Effective In Locating Pelvic Recurrences Of Rectal Cancer

The combined use of PET scans and CT scans is an effective method for detecting pelvic recurrences of rectal cancer.

In this recent trial, 62 patients who had previously undergone abdominal surgery as part of their treatment were referred for PET/CT scanning for evaluation of pelvic recurrences. In total, 81 pelvic sites were found, of which 44 were malignant. Although displaced pelvic organs as the result of surgery did produce some false-positive results, researchers found that PET/CT scans were in the range of 90% specific and sensitive for locating malignant pelvic recurrences.


  • Tinteren H, Hoekstra O, Smit E, et al. Effectiveness of positron emission tomography in the preoperative assessment of patients with suspected non-small-cell lung cancer: the PLUS multicenter randomized trial.
  • Antoch G, Stattaus J, Nemat AT, et al. Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: Dual-Modality PET/CT in Preoperative Staging.
  • Juweid M, Wiseman G, Vose J, et al. Response Assessment of Aggressive Non Hodgkins Lymphoma by Integrated International Workshop Criteria and Fluorine-18-Fluorodeoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2005 23: 4652-4661.
  • Einat Even-Sapir, Yoav P, Hedva L, et al. Detection of recurrence in patients with rectal cancer: PET/CT after abdominoperineal or anterior resection. Radiology. 2004 232:815-822.
  • Axumin Pet Scanning For Prostate Cancer Care

    Axumin is an FDA-approved agent used for Axumin PET scans for prostate cancer. Axumin is often able to image and restage recurrent prostate cancer better than any other conventional imaging techniques. Biochemical recurrence, typically suspected with rising PSA levels, is the standard in monitoring patients for suspected recurrent prostate cancer. Traditional imaging techniques are often limited in that they may detect a small lymph node or suspicious finding, but cannot further functionally characterize the molecular activity to determine the level of suspicion. The introduction of Axumin PET scanning has been a breakthrough, allowing physicians the ability to accurately locate and restage prostate cancer with precision, especially in the setting of suspiciously rising PSA levels.

    How Do Axumin PET Scans Work?

    An Axumin PET uses a radioactive tracer, given as an injection, that is linked to an amino acid which is absorbed by prostate cancer at a much more rapid rate than normal cells. The rapid uptake of Axumin by prostate cancer cells is then imaged by the advanced technology within the PET scan equipment. The PET scan images are then reviewed in order to determine if there has been any spread to other areas in the body.

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    Additional Pet Scanning Faq

    Is PET scanning safe?

    While PET scanning does involve the use of radioactive tracers, these are diagnostic levels of radiation that are completely safe and have no known side effects.

    How long does it take to get the results after a PET Scan?

    Images are captured and created during the PET scan procedure, and afterward, a radiologist will utilize their training and experience to interpret the scan and produce a written report of findings and conclusions. This report is then transmitted to your referring physician who would then review those results with you and discuss any further treatment if needed.

    What is it like for a patient to have a PET Scan?

    Please watch this video we created that clearly walks one through the experience of having a PET scan and answers all common questions about PET scanning.

    Why Is A Pet Scan Performed

    PSMA/PET Scans: FDA Approved | Ask A Prostate Expert, Mark Scholz, MD

    A PET scan is used to inspect blood flow, oxygen intake, or the metabolism of organs and tissues. PET scans show problems at the cellular level, giving your doctor the best view of complex systemic diseases.

    PET scans are most commonly used to detect:

    • Cancer-Cancer cells have a higher metabolic rate than non-cancerous cells. Because of this high level of chemical activity, cancer cells show up as bright spots on PET scans. For this reason, PET scans are useful for detecting new or recurrent cancers.
    • Heart problems-PET scans reveal areas of decreased blood flow in the heart. This is because healthy heart tissue will take in more of the tracer than unhealthy tissue or tissue that has decreased blood flow. Different colors and degrees of brightness on the scan will indicate different levels of tissue function, helping you and your doctor decide how best to move forward
    • Brain disorders-The sugar glucose is the main fuel of the brain. During PET scans, tracers are attached to compounds such as glucose. By detecting radioactive glucose, the PET scan is able to detect which areas of the brain are utilizing glucose at the highest rates. PET scans are used to help diagnose and manage many central nervous system disorders.

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    Preparing For Your Pet

    For most PET-CT scans, you need to stop eating about 4 to 6 hours beforehand. You can usually drink water during this time. You might have instructions not to do any strenuous exercise for 24 hours before the scan.

    Some people feel claustrophobic when they’re having a scan. Contact the department staff before your test if youre likely to feel like this. They can take extra care to make sure youre comfortable and that you understand whats going on.

    Your doctor can arrange to give you medicine to help you relax, if needed.

    Further Testing For Advanced Cancer

    If theres a significant chance the cancer has spread from your prostate to other parts of the body, further tests may be recommended.

    These include:

    • an MRI scan, CT scan or PET scan these scans build a detailed picture of the inside of your body
    • an isotope bone scan, which can tell if the cancer has spread to your bones a small amount of radiation dye is injected into the vein and then collects in parts of the bone where there are any abnormalities

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    How Is Prostate Cancer Treated

    There are many treatment options for cancer limited to the prostate gland. You and your doctor should carefully consider each option. Weigh the benefits and risk as they relate to the aggressiveness and/or stage of the cancer as well as your age, overall health, and personal preferences. Standard treatments include:

    • Surgery : The surgeon makes an incision in the lower abdomen or through the perineum and removes the prostate. If they cannot remove the entire tumor, you may need radiation therapy. You will need to keep a urinary catheter in place for several weeks after the procedure. Possible side effects can include incontinence and impotence. Some surgeons may use three small incisions to do robot-assisted prostatectomy. This may result in a shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery. This procedure may be preferable for some patients, but not for all.
    • External beam therapy : a method for delivering a beam of high-energy x-rays or proton beams to the location of the tumor. The radiation beam is generated outside the patient and is targeted at the tumor site. These radiation beams can destroy the cancer cells, and conformal treatment plans allow the surrounding normal tissues to be spared. See the External Beam Therapy page for more information.
    • Active surveillance: No treatment, with careful observation and medical monitoring.

    Advanced treatment options may avoid or minimize some of the side effects associated with standard therapies. These options include:

    Prostate Biopsy The Standard Screening Option But Not Without Flaws

    Can a CT scan or PET scan cause cancer?

    During a prostate biopsy, a thin needle is inserted through the wall of your rectum and into the prostate to collect a sample of tissue. This may be repeated up to 12 times to take 12 separate samples. Most doctors will use a local anesthetic to numb the area, and blood may persist in the urine or semen for a few weeks after the biopsy. If the areas the doctor collected did not have cancer, a follow up biopsy might be performed.

    A prostate biopsy can occasionally cause bleeding, pain and infection. And it can lead to the diagnosis of clinically insignificant cancers that would never have been detected or caused any problems for the patients.

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    What Happens During A Psma Pet Scan

    Its simple, and you dont have to prepare beforehand for the procedure:

    • Once you arrive at the clinic, youll change into a hospital gown and receive an intravenous injection in your arm that contains the radiotracer. Youll wait roughly one hour so that its absorbed throughout your body.
    • Youll be brought to our PET imaging machine, where youll lie still for roughly 20 minutes as the machine scans your body. Once this is complete, you may leave.
    • The scans are sent to the nuclear medicine physician to evaluate. That report and the PET images are then reviewed by your cancer doctor.

    How Prostate Cancer Is Diagnosed

    A diagnosis of prostate cancer can involve screening tests such as a serum PSA or digital rectal exam, as well as procedures that can include MRI-TRUS fusion with targeted biopsy, or an ultrasound-guided random 12-core biopsy.

    Based on biopsy findings, a Gleason score is used to describe the aggressiveness of the tumor.

    Further tests, such as a CT scan, magnetic resonance imaging , bone scan, or PET scan may be done to stage the tumor. Since prostate cancers can differ in their tendency to grow or spread, staging is important in choosing the best treatments, determining the risk of recurrence, and estimating the prognosis of the disease.

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    What Is A Pet Scan

    A positron emission tomography study, or PET scan, is a type of imaging study. During a PET scan, you take a small amount of radioactive material, called a tracer. The tracer is very safe because only a tiny amount is used.

    There are many types of tracers, but there are two new tracers that are more common than the rest. These tracers stick to a protein thats only found on prostate cancer cells. Once its stuck to the prostate cancer cells, it gives off energy. Cameras can capture this energy, which healthcare providers can then see on images. When you get a PET scan, you can actually see where the cancer cells are in your body.

    Use In Men Who Might Have Prostate Cancer

    PSMA PET Scan Used For Prostate Cancer â Memorial Cancer Institute

    The PSA blood test is used mainly to screen for prostate cancer in men without symptoms. Its also one of the first tests done in men who have symptoms that might be caused by prostate cancer.

    PSA in the blood is measured in units called nanograms per milliliter . The chance of having prostate cancer goes up as the PSA level goes up, but there is no set cutoff point that can tell for sure if a man does or doesnt have prostate cancer. Many doctors use a PSA cutoff point of 4 ng/mL or higher when deciding if a man might need further testing, while others might recommend it starting at a lower level, such as 2.5 or 3.

    • Most men without prostate cancer have PSA levels under 4 ng/mL of blood. Still, a level below 4 is not a guarantee that a man doesnt have cancer.
    • Men with a PSA level between 4 and 10 have about a 1 in 4 chance of having prostate cancer.
    • If the PSA is more than 10, the chance of having prostate cancer is over 50%.

    If your PSA level is high, you might need further tests to look for prostate cancer.

    To learn more about how the PSA test is used to look for cancer, including factors that can affect PSA levels, special types of PSA tests, and what the next steps might be if you have an abnormal PSA level, see Screening Tests for Prostate Cancer.

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    What Is A Pet Scan And Why Is It Used For Prostate Cancer

    New GE Discovery IQ PET Scanner

    • What is a PET scan? A PET Scan, short for Positron Emission Tomography Scan, is an imaging technique that uses radioactive tracers to clearly image targeted areas in the body. It is primarily used in the diagnosis, initial staging and treatment strategy, to assess the effectiveness of therapy and for restaging, or the evaluation for recurrent disease after treatment.
    • Why is a PET scan used for prostate cancer? PET scanning is used for prostate cancer because of its superior ability to target and capture images of prostate cancer on a cellular level. This allows for more accurate staging and restaging in the overall prostate cancer treatment strategy. With new radiotracers being developed and studied, PET scanning continues to lead the way in what will be possible for imaging during treatment of prostate cancer.

    PET scanning has revolutionized the way prostate cancer is imaged because of its ability to target cancer on a cellular and molecular level. PET Scanning uses a radioactive tracer that is absorbed and visualized in cancerous cells related to the prostate. This makes a PET scan a better choice than more conventional imaging modalities that only evaluate an anatomical snapshot of abnormalities rather than the functional aspects of a PET scan.

    Advanced Genomic Testing For Prostate Cancer

    The most common lab test for prostate cancer is advanced genomic testing, which examines a tumor to look for DNA alterations that may be driving the growth of the cancer. By identifying the mutations that occur in a cancer cells genome, doctors may get a clearer picture of the tumors behavior and be able to tailor a patients treatment based on the findings.


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