A PET (positron emission tomography) scan is a nuclear test that shows a person’s physiology, looking at the biological behavior of lesions or abnormalities.  While a CT (computerized tomography) scan is an anatomical test, showing where in the body the tumor is, the PET scan is more of a functional test, showing how things are working.  The new PET/CT scanner at TAMC performs both of these tests in one patient sitting and merges the scans together for the best view possible.
 
While there are other uses for a PET scan, it is primarily used for tumor detection and staging, which is the evaluation of the effectiveness of treatment.   PET/CT scans are used in some form or other in guiding therapy for common cancers, according to Dr. Arjun Sood, the lead medical oncologist at TAMC’s Aroostook Cancer Care.

Statistics have shown that approximately 300 Aroostook County patients have traveled annually to Bangor to have a PET scan done. Others who would benefit from this kind of test opt for a different imaging procedure that is less effective for their needs because they cannot make the trip.

“Having this technology locally not only provides convenience for patients, but opens up this higher level of care to those who could not access it before.  This will mean earlier detection, more accurate detection and better continuity of treatment,” said Randy Bacon, director of ancillary services at TAMC.
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