Frequently Asked Questions
01. What is PET/positron emission tomography?
  A: Positron emission tomography is an imaging tool that makes use of a radiopharmaceutical that emits positron radiation to diagnose disease. Because these drugs are similar to the body's glucose, they enter the body and undergo the same metabolic process as the original metabolites. Positron emission tomography is the use of positron emission and computer tomography (PET/CT), to detect these drugs and examine diseases from the outside of the body, and reflect some of the body's functions. It is a non-invasive imaging examination.
02. Why do I need to undergo PET? How often do I need to do this inspection?
  A: Because PET can detect the small lesions early, and the information it provides are benign and malignant functional images, therefore, it has the advantage of early diagnosis and early treatment for diagnostic purposes. It can help clinicians to effectively understand the condition of the medical treatment, and allow for timely change of treatment. Positron emission tomography sometimes must be repeated, for example, prognosis assessment of cancer treatment is usually repeated within 3 months to closely track the changes of the disease. For normal people over 40 years of age, it is recommended once a year.
03. Is positron emission tomography safe? Is there any potential danger?
  A: Positron emission tomography is a very safe procedure. The radiation exposure dosage of the positron used in the inspection is within a reasonable range, and most of the drugs themselves belong to or approximate the original metabolites in the body, so no drug allergic reactions have ever been reported. Therefore, this procedure is nearly harmless. This inspection has been clinically applied both domestically and overseas for nearly 30 years, and there are only rare reports of adverse reactions in the literature.
04. Is there any risk of PET? What is the amount of radiation used?
  A: Any inspection which uses radiation such as X-ray or computed tomography have the risk of radiation damage. However, because these test results have the benefits of diagnosis and treatment, in weighing the pros and cons, we allow patients or subjects to receive these very low-risk radiological exams. Compared to other medical examinations using radiation, the radiation of PET is equivalent to traditional computer tomography, about 5 to 7 mSv. In addition, due to the short half-life of the nucleus, it belongs to the low dose rate of radiation; it is relatively well tolerated by the body and therefore is quite safe.
05. Is there any risk of PET? What is the amount of radiation used?
  A: PET is very safe. Before inspection, you must fast for at least 6 hours, but you can drink boiled water. In order to maintain the image quality and accuracy, blood sugar should be kept below 150. In addition to hypoglycemic drugs and insulin, other drugs can be taken. During the inspection, you only need to lie down for about 20 to 30 minutes. After inspection, wait about 20 minutes; once the computer image is reorganized, the physician can interpret the report for you.
06. How long after the PET can I obtain the report information?
  A: On the day of examination, the center will arrange specialists to explain the test results for you. On that day, you will receive beautifully formatted official reports including Chinese and English written copies and VCDs.
07. What is the clinical significance of the results of PET?
  A: Depending on the drugs used, PET can detect different body organs, tissues and molecular level activities. Clinically, it has the ability to detect lesions (such as cancer) that have not yet developed symptoms, and establish the etiology of vague symptoms (e.g., neuropsychiatric disorders). In addition, the effects of treatment can also be assessed immediately (Such as the effect of chemotherapy or radiotherapy on tumor killing).
08. Does NHI pay for PET? How much is the fee for PET?
  A: Most health insurances in the United States (including government-sponsored health insurance) pay for certain PET (including some cancer diagnosis, myocardial activity, brain function, etc.). Our National Health Insurance has also been open for diagnoses of lung cancer, esophageal cancer, colorectal cancer, lymphoma head and neck cancer, melanocytic cancer, thyroid cancer, and breast cancer patients can apply for NHI payment. However, if you want to do a full-body cancer screening with PET, you can also make a phone reservation appointment (For details, please contact the center hotline: 04-26581919 ext. 4392,4393)
09. What are the limits of PET?
  A: Although the PET examination is extremely sensitive and accurate, there are still diagnostic limitations. For example, the most commonly used fluorodeoxyglucose contrast media is excreted via the urinary system; therefore, the diagnosis of kidney, bladder, prostate tumors is more difficult (it must be checked with another positron drug). However, for metastatic cancer, PET can provide a review of the location and metastasis of the cancer.
10. Is there any alternative to PET? What is the difference between PET and X-ray CT? Can I get results using X-ray CT alone?
  A: In addition to biopsy lesions for pathological examination, there is no other examination that can replace PET to directly measure the molecular function of cancer or specific organs. Briefly speaking, PET is used to measure the metabolic function of body tissues, the image falls under molecular function. X-ray computer tomography uses differences in X-ray permeability to show the structure of the tissues and provide anatomical images but it is unable to detect the function. The PET used by our Center combines the two images, yielding both functional and anatomical results, and uses the latter to locate any abnormalities found by the former. The two images complement each other, so it has a higher diagnostic value.

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