With PET/CT, Stanford doctors can make more accurate diagnoses, develop more targeted treatment plans, and do better, less-invasive treatment monitoring, which should result in improved patient outcomes.
Increased patient comfort
A PET/CT scan is noninvasive, painless and takes about 30 minutes. Along with providing better imaging data, it notably increases patient comfort and convenience by reducing the number of scanning sessions a patient must undergo. The procedure is covered by private insurance and Medicare.
Better data, better treatment plans
Clinical research has shown that in comparison to a PET scan alone, PET/CT technology provides new information that can alter a patient's treatment plan to better target the cancer in approximately one-third of the cases.
In one example, the PET/CT scan of a lung cancer patient revealed not only the original tumor on the lung—which a previous CT scan had found—but an additional tumor the CT missed: a small, early stage lesion in the neck.
Based on the CT alone, the doctor would have recommended surgery, but the additional tumor found by PET/CT indicated that the cancer had spread and was inoperable. Based on this information, the doctor proceeded with radiation therapy, giving the patient a better chance of survival.