Although on the decline due to increased use of screening tests, an estimated 12,200 new invasive cervical cancers will be diagnosed in the US in 2003, accounting for 4,100 cancer deaths.
Early determination of how far the invasive cervical cancer has spread is key to selecting the most appropriate treatment...and PET Scanning can help
Diagnosis and Early Detection
Early cancers of the cervix can generally be easily found by a Pap test: a painless, simple procedure, which should be done annually in women over the age of 18. It collects and tests cells from the cervix to look for evidence of cancer. Survival for patients with pre-invasive lesions is nearly 100%, with curative treatment possible through local procedures.
For patients in whom the cervical cancer has not been found at this pre-invasive stage, more extensive surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy may be considered. For invasive cervical cancer, PET scanning can help…determine the stage of the cancer immediately after it is found, so that the most appropriate therapy can be given.
...the PET scan can show where tumor cells are growing, which helps your doctor determine the best course of treatment...
The PET scan can accurately detect invasive cervical cancer and see how far it may have spread.
Treatment Follow-Up and Cancer Recurrence
Your doctor will schedule you for routing follow-up visits, depending on the stage of the cancer. Your doctors may order follow up tests and procedures to determine if the cancer returns. PET is the most useful test that you can have when doctors are staging or re-staging your cancer because it is more accurate than CT or any other test.
Before PET, it was extremely difficult to monitor patients to see if the cervical cancer had spread. Other imaging tests might not see the cancer as sensitively as PET, which could result in a delay of further treatment. Imaging with PET to look for recurrence is critical to find it at its earliest stage.
PET can also be used to image tumor response to therapy. After surgery and other treatments, PET is extremely important to monitor to see if the cancer cells have returned and help determine if treatment should be re-started.
For more information about the PET/CT scanner or to make an appointment, please call the Division of Nuclear Medicine at (410) 328-6891.