PET CT is a combination of positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) into one single machine. This is an advanced technology tool used to detect many chronic diseases, especially cancer. This scan provides information about the structure and function of the cells and tissues of the organs being examined during a single imaging session. While the patient is being scanned for cancer, the procedure combines information about the body’s anatomy and metabolic function and the scan provides a more detailed picture of cancerous tissues. This scan is said to provide more accurate results than any other imaging scans.
Incidence of cancer in Mumbai
Cancer is considered to be the worst of all maladies in India. 40% of the patients die annually and the cancer cases have seen an increase of 2%-3% every year, according to the data and estimates from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
India has an established Indian Cancer society which collects the data of cancer incidences in the country. As a part of this Society, Mumbai Cancer Registry was established in June 1963 as a Unit with the aim of acquiring consistent incidence & mortality on cancer from a specifically defined urban population. The city has people immigrating from all over the country as Mumbai is the industrial heart of India and the financial capital of the country.
For the past 45 years, the registry has been collecting all essential data pertaining to cancer patients among the resident population of greater part of Mumbai. Data collected so far has been fully analyzed and during the period 1964-2006 a total of 2,60,000 cancer cases were registered and 1,35,000 cancer deaths were detected among the population. The association of cancer clearly shows that 33.5% of the cases were diagnosed in older ages and only 2.3% of the total numbers of cases were registered under the age of 15 years. According to the update from Mumbai Cancer registry, the incidence of cancer in the city has not seen any exponential rise. An analysis of data collated from 137 centers by the registry showed that the lifetime risk of developing cancer in the city has remained static at eight per a population of one lakh (2014 analysis).
“The incidence of cancer has barely changed in India. The population has gone up, resulting in the number of patients increasing accordingly,” said Dr. Rajesh Dikshit, head of the epidemiology department of Tata Memorial Hospital in Parel. According to Dr. Vinay Deshmane, medical director, Mumbai Cancer Registry, “Cancers of the gastrointestinal tract are the most common with an incidence of 22.5%, followed by head and neck cancers at 17%. Smoked and spicy food, caffeine, and low roughage diet have been linked to gastrointestinal tract cancers. Esophagus and stomach cancers have reduced while hepatobiliary pancreatic, colon and rectum cancers have risen. Colorectal cancers have seen a rise owing to increased intake of alcohol, saturated fats, and calories.”
Cervical cancer stood at 21.4% in 1964 when the Mumbai Cancer Registry was established. But today, breast cancer tops the chart. In men, lung and mouth cancers continue to be on the top.
How is PET CT scan performed?
PET CT scan is a noninvasive and an outpatient procedure performed in approved and certified diagnostics imaging centers. Before the scan, the patient may have to follow a list of instructions like
- a patient is asked not to consume any food for at least 4 to 6 hours before the scan (but they can drink plenty of water)
- The patient may also have to avoid caffeine for at least 24 hours before the scan.
- The patient will have to inform the doctor pre-hand about any recent surgeries undergone, any medications being taken, if he has any allergies and if the patient is pregnant or breastfeeding
- The patient may also need to remove all the metallic accessories and jewelry
During the scan, a short-lived radioactive isotope tracer is injected into the veins of the patient. The material is radioactive glucose and is called FDG (F-18 labeled fluorodeoxyglucose). The patient needs to wait for 60 minutes while the active molecule becomes concentrated in tissues of the body. And few patients may be given mild sedatives too.
The PET CT scanner is a circular tunnel-shaped machine and looks similar to an MRI scanner. Once the patient is ready, he will have to lie on the table that slides into the circular scan machine for examination. The cancerous cells have a greater concentration of glucose in them; hence they are easily tagged by the radioactive solution and can be easily detected under the PET CT scanner. The scanner passes the gamma rays into the body and the organs that are highlighted with the radioactive glucose emit back the signals to the machine. The radioactive glucose highlights the organs and the doctors are able to see the functioning of the organs and the tissues. The scanner can measure the blood flow, oxygen use, glucose metabolism (how your body uses sugar), and much more. The scanner captures three-dimensional images which can be reconstructed using computer analysis. The entire process may take around 2 – 3 hours including the resting time before the scan.
Clinical application of PET CT scan
PET CT scan is usually and most commonly used for cancer detection, location, staging, and re-staging. But apart from cancer, PET CT scan also helps in early detection and diagnosis of chronic diseases like heart disease, gastrointestinal, endocrine, neurological disorders and other abnormalities within the body. PET CT scan is also very useful in tracking the patient’s treatment progress.
Unlike CT and MRI, PET CT scanners capture high-quality images showing results at the functional level of the cells and the tissues. PET CT scans are commonly used to detect cancer, heart problems, brain disorders and problems with the central nervous system. Apart from that it also helps diagnose complex diseases like coronary artery disease, brain tumors, memory disorders, seizures, Alzheimer’s and more. PET CT has improved diagnostic levels in departments like Oncology, Cardiology, and Neurology.
In the department of Cardiology, the scan helps in assessment of mayocardial viability in patients with ischemic heart failure, a poor ventricular function that needs consideration for revascularization, coronary artery disease, unstable angina, heart valve disease and other heart problems.
The Department of Neurology uses this scan to diagnose diseases and disorders like Alzheimer’s, seizures, stroke, huntington’s disease, Epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and other neuromuscular diseases. It works on the assumption that areas of high radioactivity are associated with brain activity measured indirectly with the flow of the blood to different parts of the brain.
95% of the PET CT scans are performed in the Department of Oncology and it helps to detect and locate the tumors in the brain, head, neck and other parts of the body. It is also very useful in diagnosing the stage of cancer and tumors, and also helps locate them. It also helps in monitoring treatment of cancers, particularly in Hodgkin’s lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and lung cancer. PET CT has proved to be a life-saving diagnostic tool in a radiology department.
How is Quality of PET CT scan centers decided?
The standards of the healthcare facilities may vary across providers, especially from private to public hospitals. Mumbai has one of the best public healthcare infrastructures, but yet falls short in providing healthcare facilities to all the citizens of Mumbai. Mumbai has seen a rise in the lifestyle diseases recently. PET CT scan plays a vital role in diagnoses of these diseases and has been very helpful in early detection of these diseases. But, PET CT scanners are machines that not all the diagnostic centers can host.
PET CT scanners use nuclear medicine to perform the scan. It is not very easy to get a PET CT scanner installed in the radiology department of the diagnostic centers. It takes a lot of money along with approvals and certifications. The radionuclides that are produced by the cyclotron are higher in energy compared to the materials used for other type of diagnosis. The center needs to meet a set of regulatory requirements and take radiation safety precautions that all the centers approved by AERB need to follow such as,
- Approvals from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB)
- Certifications from ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories)
- The technical configuration of the scanner (16 to 64 slices)
- The thickness of the wall where the machine is stationed
- The qualification of a full-time radiologist and technicians in the center.
It takes a lot of experience to read the images produced by the PET CT scanner; hence a full-time radiologist needs to be present at the center. Since it takes a lot to set up these scan centers, these scans end up being very expensive and most of the patients cannot afford it. With all the technical competence, high-quality machines and experienced radiologists, the centers can generate quality reports. You can also say that all the above factors play an important role in deciding the quality of a scan center.
How to find good quality scan centers in Mumbai
Mumbai has one of the best public healthcare infrastructures. Municipal Corporation and State Government maintain the majority of hospitals in Mumbai. Tata Memorial Centre, is a postgraduate university teaching centre for cancer research. The city has 7 medical colleges. The diagnosis and treatment of cancer is confined to certain hospitals and major cancer surgeries are undertaken in all the major hospitals and well-equipped private nursing homes. The facilities like cobalt-60 are available in 10 hospitals while ulto-voltage deep x-ray therapy is available in 15 hospitals. There have been amazing improvements in the diagnostic facilities of the city, as new hospitals have immerged with histopathology and imaging facilities.
Dr. MB Shah, Medical Director, Holy Spirit Hospital said, “I have seen that Mumbai does not have sufficient medical infrastructure to cope up with the volume of cancer patients in the city. The problem gets compounded when one considers the fact that people in surrounding areas also rely on the hospital facilities in Mumbai when it comes to cancer treatment. With the number of cancer patients increasing, we have to ensure that hospitals are equipped to deal with these diseases.” With all these factors it is very difficult to get through the timely diagnosis and treatment of the disease. We, at Bookmyscans.com, make your life easier by providing information about the quality PET CT scan centers near you at affordable costs.
75% OFF on PET CT scans in Mumbai
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a research report says that the incidence of cancer is projected to rise five times by 2025 and the prevalence is likely to increase to 19% in men and 23% in women by 2020. The cost of the diagnosis and treatment of this traumatic disease is so high that it has forced many people to sell their homes. Only a small fraction of Indians have health insurance and those who do rarely have critical illness cover. The treatment with chemotherapy and hormonal drug therapy can cost anything between INR 10,000 to INR 4 lakhs, and maybe even 10 lakhs, depending on the drugs used and duration of the treatment.
Most of the cancer patients visit the doctors when it is too late, ending up in spending a huge amount on treatment costs. All this cost can be saved with early diagnosis of this disease. Bookmyscans helps you by offering many preventive cancer screening health check-ups at affordable and discounted prices. Patients also have a lot more hospitals to choose from today and at Bokkmyscans.com you can find the best quality, approved and certified diagnostic centers near you for PET CT scans. We are working towards a social cause of early detection of diseases like cancer to help build a healthy society and reduce the incidence of cancer in Mumbai and across India. We work round the clock and you can book appointments at any time of the day. Viewing your reports online is easy and you can also download a hard copy whenever necessary. We partner with only with centers which are approved by AERB for cancer screening and these partners are audited periodically to make sure they deliver the desired quality services.
Remember! Cancer is life threatening, rather prevent than fight!