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In the multidisciplinary management of patients with cancer, positron-emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) fusion imaging is an exciting and rapidly evolving technique that is improving our ability to make better treatment decisions. PET utilizes radioactive sugar molecules which cancer cells use up at a faster rate than normal cells. This causes tumors to emit an activity signal to identify areas which are cancerous.

PET-CT is useful in the staging of numerous cancers including: lung cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, head and neck cancer, ovarian cancer, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, gynecologic cancers, colorectal cancers, and breast cancer. Studies have shown that PET-CT is useful for target volume delineation during radiation treatment planning.

PET-CT is quickly becoming the standard of care for staging malignancies at certain anatomic sites. Studies have found that PET-CT is more accurate in helping to identify cancer than magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or PET alone, and PET-CT findings resulted in a change in treatment.