The radioactive substance most commonly used in PET scanning is a sugar (like glucose) called FDG, which stands for “fluorodeoxyglucose”. It accumulates in your body wherever sugar is being metabolised at high rates and gives off energy that the scanner can detect. This detected information is then converted into images of your body showing which cells are using the most sugar. Cancer cells tend to use a lot of sugar and therefore show up well on PET images.
PET scanners are combined with computed tomography (CT) scanner, called a PET-CT. CT images are created from multiple x-rays to build up an image of the structures inside your body. The PET or PET-CT scanner looks like a large box with a circular hole in the middle.
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