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PET Frequently Asked Questions

What is a PET scan?

PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography. This type of scan can show how body tissues are working, as well as what they look like in two or three dimensions. The technique is very sensitive and is ideally suited to imaging biological processes (e.g. the high metabolic activity in most cancers).

Why is it important?

PET is becoming one the most important tools used clinically for diagnosis of a range of diseases, especially cancer, and for monitoring the progress of treatment, recovery, etc. It is also important in streamlining and enhancing the discovery of new medicines. PETIC is a unique facility in Wales, allowing study of new diagnostic and treatment methods, which can be linked to clinical trial programmes.

What kind of diseases will be studied?

The main focus is cardiovascular, neurological and oncological research. This includes strokes, psychological disorders, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s Diseases, and all types of cancer.

How will patients benefit?

Working in partnership with Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust, the Centre offers doctors more accurate information about the stage a cancer has reached in a patient, allowing them to plan treatment more accurately. The scanner can detect tumours at an earlier stage (as small as 2mm in size), and with greater certainty. Previously patients in Wales had to travel to London or other centres to be scanned. The facility in Cardiff  speeds access to scans and hence diagnosis, as well as being much more convenient for most patients.