Proper management of cancer requires accurate diagnosis and staging of the cancer.
This is to ensure there is no
- Under-treatment, for example, missing potential curative treatment in oligometastatic (primary cancer with limited metastatic disease) cancer or small lymph nodes not clearly noticed from CT images.
- Over-treatment in widely disseminated cancer, saving patients from unnecessary radical or mutilating surgery.
Integrated PET-CT had been increasingly used for the pre-operative or pre-treatment staging of solid malignancies, such as lung, colorectal, breast and others solid tumors.
It’s more superior than CT images alone for clear anatomic delineation and sensitive identification of cancerous lesions.
Also, PET-CT is increasingly used to for assessment of treatment response chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
In certain solid tumor like GIST tumor, PET-CT imaging is more important because GIST tumor change in tumor metabolic first before changes in tumor size, which takes much longer time.
Why Is It Not Used More Widely?
It comes down to long waiting list and cost of PET-CT imaging.
The price for a 18F-FDG PET-CT at Beacon Hospital is currently one of the lowest and most affordable in Malaysia; RM2000 inclusive of everything.
This is because the hospital reduces the cost by buying its own cyclotron to produce radioactive component of the tracer used in PET-CT imaging.
Other benefits are shorter scanning time and same day quality reporting by experienced radiologist.