You can say with certainty that the medical field has embraced the PET scan test wholeheartedly. The invention of computerized axial tomography has increased the popularity of PET even more. PET CT tests had forever changed the way lymphoma is staged and consequently treated. This is especially true of the potentially curable ones, for example:
classic Hodgkin’s lymphoma
large cell or aggressive lymphoma
Looking only at Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, PET scans are literally universal. They have been adopted for treatment worldwide and even changed the way we perceive care given under these conditions.
A comparison with traditional testing
One of the previous tests used in oncology was gallium scans. Today they are completely replaced by PET scans because the latter are:
In addition, PET CT imaging is able to reveal the condition even when the lymph nodes are average in size. For gallium scans, this was considered of no consequence. This sensitivity is one of the reasons why PETs are often used during the staging of the disease.
Another approach to treatment
It is not only the testing phase that has seen a paradigm shift due to technology, but also the way in which healthcare professionals are approaching the treatment of lymphoma has changed. For example, take large masses, often seen as scars and residuals, even after being sterilized by the condition. If a traditional diagnostic method is used, it is almost impossible to discern whether or not the remaining mass has an active form of the disease.
The consequence of a conventional test is further irradiation to treat the pulp, even when a biopsy proves to be scar tissue, because there may be a sampling error. With PET, the thought process is reformed if no apparent active cancer cells in the mass radiation are not given.
Another area where cancer treatment has changed is a truly negative PET scan. After the end of treatment, it is considered that the disease has gone into remission if the scan is completely negative. The statistics of relapse occurring following negative PET imaging are in single digits. Further data and analysis show that a response seen in a PET scan after 2 to 3 cycles of chemotherapy is even more reliable, prognostic, compared to one taken when the therapy is completed.
As a result, in classic Hodgkin’s lymphoma and large cell lymphoma cases, an early-stage trial has begun to consider whether it is advantageous to change therapy based on the results of a preliminary PET scan.
Caution should be exercised
For those diagnosed with lymphoma, PET technology was Godsend. But like any other tool we use, there is a need for caution. Some parts of PET scanning are still unclear, such as:
What constitutes a negative study and what is a positive is still unclear.
Which assessment is more accurate – the eyeball or the semi-quantitative SUV score?
In the case of semi-quantitative SUV scores, at what level of SUV activity should the test represent negativity?
In addition to these unanswered questions, there are issues such as the difficulty of transferring data from one PET machine to another. There is no standardization of the time between radioisotope injection and activity measurement. The difference can affect the result of the scan. In addition, lymphoma is not the only condition that results in a positive scan. Infection, delayed infiltration of inflammatory cells and thymic rebound can all appear pet scanning oncology
The last, but the most significant disadvantage of PET scans is their interpretation. Observers see different things on the same scan, especially if there is a subtlety in the imaging. When the scan is crystal clear, as in uniquely positive or negative, the diagnosis is the same by all viewers. When there are gray areas, the interpretation of the scan may change with the viewer.
What can be answered in the future
It has been seen that a positive scan after or halfway through chemotherapy is a predictor of treatment failure. If this proves to be a fact, researchers need to find out if an alternative therapy would provide more benefit. The decision can be supported by biopsy results. Finding the answer to this can:
Change a patient to an ineffective and painful treatment
Give the patient a try for another goal that can show positive effects
Determine if the positive scan was the consequence of drug resistance
Another area that should be over, however, is the number of chemotherapy cycles when the temporary PET scan is negative. The tradition is six bikes with two given after complete remission. However, if imaging turns out to be negative, it is possible to reduce the number of chemotherapy treatments. This can be considered because data shows that there is a long way between few when PET is negative.
The hope is strong
Despite the difficulties and despite the answered questions, PET scans cannot be denied as the best lymphoma detection technology. They are making significant progress in the care provided to cancer patients and will remain so for a long time.