PET CT vs CT Scan for Cancer

Why PET CT offers more accurate results

Is a PET-CT or CT Scan Better?

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Comparing CT and PET-CT

PET/CT scans provide significantly more information than CT scans, and are far more reliable when diagnosing cancer. The reality is that you cannot rely on a CT scan (or ultrasound, MRI, or blood test) to tell you if you have cancer. It is only with a PET/CT scan that you will know for sure.

PET/CT, which is a combination of positron emission tomography (PET) with computerized tomography (CT), is a powerful, essential tool for cancer detection and diagnosis.

What are the Differences Between CT and PET-CT Scans?

  • CT scan:
    • Shows a 3D image of the inside of the body (organs and tissues)
    • Detects abnormalities in the body’s internal anatomy, such as tumours or growths
  • PET scan:
    • Shows biological activity at the molecular level
    • Detects changes in cellular activity before these changes are anatomically visible
    • Differentiates between malignant and benign abnormalities
  • PET-CT scan:
    • Provides everything in a single scan
    • Evaluates your body’s organs and tissues at a molecular level
    • Identifies abnormalities in cells
    • Detects early onset of cancer before it’s visible with other imaging tools

Can a CT Scan Misdiagnose Cancer?

Yes! Numerous studies have shown that PET-CT scans are more reliable than CT scans for cancer diagnosis. At Cancer Treatment Options and Management, we frequently see cases where cancer patients have gotten a false negative or false positive from a CT scan before getting an accurate diagnosis from a PET/CT.

PET-CT Comparison
For example, in the image above, the patient was told they were cancer-free based on the CT scan (left side). When the patient opted to get a private PET/CT scan (right side), the PET/CT scan showed a tumour that would have otherwise gone untreated.
The image above shows a CT scan. You can see some questionable masses in it, but there's NO information to tell us if the masses are, in fact, cancerous – because the CT scan cannot show the difference between abnormalities that are live (malignant) and those that are dead (benign).

Consequences of an Incorrect, or Incomplete, Cancer Diagnosis

And so, even after you get a CT scan, you still won’t know for sure if you have cancer , nor how aggressive it is, nor exactly where it is in your body.. Some consequences of an incorrect, or incomplete, cancer diagnosis include:

  • Being delayed in getting the right treatment, which can be deadly
  • Getting harmful and costly treatment...when you don’t actually need it
  • Not getting any treatment...when you do actually need

What's the solution? Getting a PET/CT scan from the start ensures that you will immediately know if you have cancer – and, if so, exactly where it is and how aggressive it is. So you can move on to getting the right treatment as soon as possible.

If you have any questions about PET/CT scans, or want to talk with our cancer specialists about how we can help you access one, please email or call us today.

Explore all Four Pillars of Precision Oncology:

Improve Treatment Success and Reduce Stress

  1. Precise Diagnosis
    How to get the most accurate cancer diagnosis with genetic testing and PET/CT.
  2. Personalized Research
    How to get the best possible treatment plan through personalized research on your inherited genetics, lifestyle, and cancer genetics.
  3. Advanced and Targeted Treatment Options
    How to increase your life expectancy, and feel better during & after treatment, by using targeted therapies (such as immunotherapy) and advanced surgical tools.
  4. Ongoing Treatment Monitoring
    How to ensure your treatment is working, as fast as possible, with Liquid Biopsy (ctDNA) and PET/CT.
Which Precision Oncology Service Package is Right For You?

Hear What Our Patients Have to Say...

"I was impressed with the research and knowledge that the medical team from CTOAM has. They've explained everything along the way; I’ve come to trust them implicitly. They always gives me hope, which is a huge benefit. I’d recommend for anyone diagnosed with cancer to give CTOAM a call and use this service. A doctor’s just a doctor – meaning, they don’t have time to do the research that Cancer Treatment Options and Management does, plus they have to stick with the protocols of standard care." Damian, CTOAM patient & colon cancer survivor

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