How Advanced Medical Imaging Is Used in Oncology

Whether you have been diagnosed with cancer or a loved one has, the diagnosis is scary enough without wondering what all the tests required before, during and after treatment. Oncologists use a variety of advanced medical imaging to properly diagnose, plan a treatment plan and see the results of the treatment. The most commonly used radiology scans for oncology treatment include PET scans, MRI scans, CT scans and nuclear medicine bone scans.

PET Scans

Positron emission tomography scans are used to diagnose and evaluate cancer. Doctors use the advanced medical imaging in Toms River NJ throughout the course of treatment including diagnosis, the cancer’s response to the current treatment and remission. PET scans may be ordered every so often once the cancer has gone into remission as part of the maintenance plan. The imaging is effective for melanoma, lymphoma, breast cancer, lung cancer, head and neck cancer, brain cancer, gynecological cancers and gastrointestinal cancer.

MRI Scans

By creating cross-section pictures, magnetic resonance imaging scans use magnets instead of radiation to capture an image of the body’s soft tissues. Using contrast dye can increase the effectiveness of the MRI in detecting certain cancers including spinal cord tumors and brain tumors. Oncologists use them to create a treatment plan and to see if the cancer has spread.

CT Scans

Like an MRI, a computed tomography scan can help oncologists with their treatment plan for the cancer. Comparing CT scans allows the doctor to see how effective the treatment plan is working and if there is any new growth. The scans can help during radiation therapy.

Nuclear Medicine Bone Scans

A nuclear medicine bone scan uses radioactive iodine to give the doctor a complete picture of the body. Cancer can move into the bones. The bone scan uses radioactive material injected into the patient to see if there is bone damage.

The oncologist may order additional scanning depending on the cancer and stage. Some additional radiological imaging ordered can include mammography, ultrasounds, stereotactic targeting and radiation treatments. Discuss with the oncologist the types of advanced imaging used and their purpose.