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Cancer and its various forms have led to a number of treatment modalities that bring care and cure to the patient. Accurate diagnosis is extremely crucial to the treatment and PET is a form of imaging test that allows the doctor to examine the extent and nature of the disease in your body. PET or positron emission tomography is an imaging test that uses a special dye containing radioactive tracers to check how your organs and tissues are working. This dye can be swallowed, injected or inhaled depending on the area the doctor needs to examine. 

The PET scan - how it's done

The tracer dye will be absorbed by the organs and tissues and get collected with higher levels of chemical activity. When tissues and organs are affected by a cancerous growth, there will be a higher level of chemical activity. And when the doctor examines the areas through the PER scanner, they will emerge as bright spots.  PET scans are also used to detect heart problems, apart from cancer and detecting brain disorders. The inspection is done at a cellular level

Here’s what the doctor would see through the PET scan:

  • Inspect the blood flow
  • Your oxygen intake
  • Your body’s metabolic level 

 

By studying these parameters, your doctor would be able to analyse your condition and the seriousness of it. For example, if you have cancer, then it would let the doctor see if cancer has spread or is a particular treatment is working. It can detect live cancer cells much more accurately than a CT. 

If you live in Qatar and suspect any problems related to the heart, then you can visit a reputed Radiologist in Doha as suggested by your cardiologist, and perform the PET scan. It would give an overview of your heart health. It would reveal the areas in the body with decreased blood flow. The heart tissue, when healthy will absorb more of the tracer, and an unhealthy heart wouldn’t take that much. The cardiac CT scan in Qatar will also reveal the different degrees of colours and brightness that the radiologist would interpret and suggest treatment modalities. 

The symptoms of the heart that you shouldn’t ignore:

  • Tightness in the chest
  • Weakness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Trouble breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Pain in the chest

You have to lie still on the exam table for several minutes, and even hold your breath for a few seconds. Once the radioactive tracers are applied, you will have to wait for an hour or so, so that the dye gets properly absorbed. The entire process will take 30-45 minutes. A PET scan isn’t good if you are pregnant or nursing, and the doctor would recommend another form of testing.

Preparing for the PET scan

It is advisable not to do any strenuous activity 24 hours before the exam

You will have to diet for at least 6 hours before the scan; inform our doctors you are a diabetic, and then you may need to adapt your diet and sugar control. If you are claustrophobic, inform your radiologist before and your doctor can arrange for a relaxation medicine to help you through it if needed. 

A cardiac PET scan is an outpatient procedure and you can get it done at the Radiology clinic at Naseem Al Rabeeh. You don’t have to stay overnight, but you may have to take the day off to make it comfortable and less hurried. Your doctor might suggest a PET scan if you experience any symptoms of heart problems. This is usually done if the doctor needs more information after echocardiogram and cardiac stress tests.

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