When you suffer from health complications that can not be easily diagnosed, it can be quite frustrating. Often your healthcare professional will order standard blood work, urinalysis, x-rays and may even order MRI or CT scans. For many patients, however, even these tests do not provide a solid diagnosis.
When dealing with a complex health complication, especially that involving lung pain, chest pain, heart burn, stomach pain or abdominal cramping, the best diagnostic test may actually be the PET scan. With the PET scan, the healthcare professional can often rule out complications associated with malignancy where other tests fall short.
An example of complicated health condition can be found in the health risks associated with a lung mass. While the exact complication is often difficult to diagnose, most patients are concerned with the mass being malignant or benign. Using the non-invasive diagnostic tool known as a PET scan, lung masses can be differentiated from malignant to benign and, when malignant, can often be staged in progress.
Because most lung tumors, especially those that are benign, do not pose any health complications, they are often not diagnosed promptly. As part of your routine annual health examination, the use of x-ray technology should be a standard practice. With chest x-ray, many physicians can begin to assess the early indications of mass or tumor development. Once found, the use of PET scan can further assess the complication without the need for a variety of other diagnostic screenings.
If, however, you suffer from a lung complication known as mesothelioma, the PET scan may not even diagnose this complication accurately as either benign or malignant. Using a process known as FDG uptake as part the PET scan, your physician can make a more definitive diagnosis of cancer, when appropriate.
The accuracy of PET scans in differentiating malignant complications from benign complications, in the lungs, is as high as 92 percent. As a costly procedure, however, many patients are not offered this type of diagnostic screening as a first line of diagnosis. If you are experiencing complications involving a lung mass or tumor, ask your physician to conduct PET scan testing to speed the process by which diagnosis is confirmed. In doing so, you may save many hours and dollars spent in other health care settings, undergoing unnecessary tests for lung cancer. The key, then, will be to determine what type of PET scan is needed and if the FDG uptake should be assessed.