PET CT Scan For Cancer Patients: Powering Detection. Accelerating CureBerlin Diagnostics
Cancer is currently the second leading cause of death across the world and is responsible for approximately 10 million deaths per year. With India playing a prominent role in contributing to these growing numbers, cancer has been invading Indian homes at an alarming rate. By 2025, it has been estimated by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Centre for Disease Informatics & Research (NCDIR that India’s number of cancer cases will increase to 15.6 lakhs. That is a 12% increase over the current estimated number of cancer cases in the country. The economic impact of cancer is also significant and increasing – the total annual economic cost of cancer globally was estimated at US$ 1.16 trillion way back in 2010.
Due to our fast-paced lives, limitless lifestyles and harmful habits, certain types of cancer have become more prevalent in our society today. For example, cancers related to tobacco are estimated to contribute to more than 27% of cancer cases in India. Gastrointestinal tract cancer and breast cancer are among the other common forms of cancer in the country. While cancers of the lung, mouth, stomach and oesophagus are the most common among Indian men, cancers of the breast and cervix uteri are the most common cancers prevalent in Indian women.
As alarming as these statistics sound, with the increased awareness and the advancement of medical technology, cancer is no longer seen as the death sentence as it was once considered. Today, people across various strata of society and regions have much easier access to the latest medical technologies to detect and treat cancer. Emerging as a godsend to the medical space, advanced medical technology like the PET CT scan has equipped medical practitioners with the ability to detect cancer at an early stage, nipping it in the bud and saving numerous lives.
Why PET CT scan?
A PET scan is a non-invasive positron emission tomography scan that is frequently used to detect and treat cancer.
This scan is a molecular imaging test that detects and identifies diseases in the patient’s body, using a special dye that contains radioactive substances called tracers. Depending on which body part is being investigated, PET CT scans may involve different tracers. Illnesses such as cancer are more likely to be caught earlier in a PET CT scan than a CT scan. The PET scan of cancer shows where the radioactive tracer is in the patient’s body. PET CT scans can only be administered by a qualified medical expert known as a Radiographer or Radiology Technologist.
A full-body PET scan enables doctors to examine how efficiently the patient’s organs and tissues are functioning. PET CT scan of the whole body can also measure changes in metabolic processes and activities such as blood flow, chemical composition, oxygen use, and sugar use.
Patients are often advised to undergo a PET CT scan for cancer as it helps detect the illness at an early stage.
The Role of a PET CT scan in cancer detection and treatment:
The early diagnosis of cancer is extremely critical for patients in order to maximize their chances for successful treatment and complete recovery. A delayed diagnosis not only lowers chances of survival but also increases the cost of treatment. PET scans play a very important role in the early detection and management of cancer. This is because cancerous cells require a lot of sugar or glucose to grow and spread inside the body of the patient.
As part of the PET scan, a radioactive tracer called fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), which is similar to glucose, is injected into the patient. This tracer consolidates within the malignant cells due to their high rate of utilizing glucose.These consolidated cells then show up as bright spots on the PET scan, which is further analyzed for diagnosis. On many occasions, PET scans reveal cancer growths that may not have been diagnosed by a standard X-ray, CT scan or MRI scan. In this manner, PET scans can help detect cancers at a much earlier stage, which is critical for treating and managing the illness.
PET scans are useful in the following scenarios when it comes to cancer:
– To detect cancer
– To determine the spread of cancerous cells
– To understand the effectiveness of a particular cancer treatment
– To check for the recurrence of cancer
In most cases, solid tumours that a PET CT scan can detect for cancer include:-
– Head and neck
– Lymphatic system
– Skin/ Melanoma
Early diagnosis: The key to fighting cancer
The old adage of ‘Prevention being better than cure’ is entirely apt to fight the battle against cancer.
Cancer screening is one of the main strategies used by public health officials to counter the growing cancer menace. A screening programme usually includes inviting the targeted population to get tested and to ensure that cancer is diagnosed early and that those diagnosed have access to effective treatment.
In several cases, it has been observed that patients ignore early signs of illness, which leads to delayed diagnosis. Faced with any health issues, a patient must visit his doctor immediately to get the correct and timely diagnosis. Early diagnosis of cancer is highly critical for patients in order for them to have the best chance for successful treatment and complete recovery. Additionally, a delayed diagnosis also leads to increased cost of treatment and lower chances of survival, making cancer screening and early diagnosis an essential public health strategy in all countries.
When cancer invades any family, there is the enormous financial burden of treatment that the patient and his family have to deal with and the emotional burden that comes with accepting the illness and taking care of the patient.
Patients and their families are strongly encouraged to seek out support in these times from their support network, including family, close friends, fellow cancer patients/ survivors. In some cases, patients and families may benefit from the help of a therapist or counsellor to help accept the situation and cope with the situation brought upon by cancer. In addition, there are several institutions that provide palliative care to those who are at the end-of-stage life, which may be considered at the appropriate time, as well as several charity organisations that help those in need of financial assistance to deal with cancer.
Medical science has made tremendous progress over the last few decades, which means that being diagnosed with cancer is no longer equated to a death sentence. In recent times, there have been many successfully documented cases of patients having a complete recovery and living fulfilling, meaningful lives after recovery from cancer. Several Indian celebrities like Sonali Bendre, Lisa Ray, Yuvraj Singh and Manisha Koirala in India and international celebrities like Martina Navratilova, Sheryl Crow, Kylie Minogue, and Hugh Jackman have all recovered from cancer. They have broken the myth for the commoner that being diagnosed with cancer is a death sentence.
Innovations like the PET CT scan have also made earlier detection possible for millions across regions. The availability of PET CT scans in Ranchi, and other Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities in India proves how far we have come when it comes to innovation and democratisation of such medical innovations.
Book an appointment for a PET CT Scan in Ranchi with our doctors today!
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