How Do Digital PET/CT Scans In Malaysia Offer Better Imaging Results For Cancer Treatment?

04 November 2022

Functions and Importance of a PET/CT Scanner

PET/CT is a type of nuclear medicine imaging which uses small amounts of radioactive materials. These radioactive materials are known as radiotracers or radiopharmaceuticals and are utilised together with a PET/CT scanner to evaluate organs as well as tissue metabolic activity. Cancer cells have a higher metabolic rate than normal cells hence it will show up as bright spots on PET scan:

PET/CT showing cancer in the body of the pancreas.

Images of before and after targeted therapy and radiotherapy. 

A PET/CT scan provides information that can assist a patient’s treatment plan. The scan offers precision in targeting cancer cells where if an additional tumour is found through the PET/CT scan, it provides an indicator that the cancer might have spread. From here, a doctor can determine a different or a more effective treatment plan for the patient.

Why is Digital PET/CT scan better than analog PET/CT scan

  • We see the differences between analog and digital devices every day in clocks. Analog clock provides approximate time but digital clock provides an exact time as the time. In digital electronics, quantities are counted rather than measured.

  • When you count something, you get an exact result.

  • Digital PET detectors count individual photons created during a PET scan then they are converted into optical but analog PET detectors cannot.

*not our patient’s images

Analog vs Digital (Digital PET / CT allow us to detect millimeter-sized tumors, which helps the doctor to diagnose tumors at an early stage and to guide treatment tactics correctly)

PET/CT Scanner Machine

  • A digital PET/CT scanner is a powerful imaging technique which allows the detection of the early onset of diseases including cancer by identifying changes at the cellular level.
  • There are several significant benefits of the scanner including faster scanning time (it allows us to scan more patients a day-reduced patient waiting time), reduced radiation dose, improved small lesion detectability and optimized image quality.
  • Sunway Medical Centre will be the first hospital in South East Asia to offer uMI 780 digital PET/CT system where we will be collaborating with United Imaging to develop new imaging protocols with AI-modelled reconstruction.

Role of a Nuclear Medicine Physician

  • Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty that uses radioactive tracers to visualize how the body is functioning and what’s happening at the cellular and molecular level. One of the differences with radiology is that nuclear medicine imaging visualizes organ function whereas other radiology imaging methods such as X-ray, CT and MRI assess the anatomy.
  • Nuclear medicine physicians use radioactive substances to diagnose and treat diseases including hyperthyroidism, thyroid cancer, prostate cancer, and neuroendocrine cancer. These physicians use a method called scintigraphy, utilising radioactive substances to produce images of the body’s organs as well as to visualise certain diseases.
  • Nuclear medicine physicians also work closely with oncologists where the oncologists require the result of the diagnosis from the PET/CT scan to determine the course of the treatment.

For PETCT appointment or inquiries, please contact : 03-7494 1017