Southeast Nebraska Cancer Center is the first center in Nebraska to offer the first effective PET/CT scan for prostate cancer patients.

 

The scan can detect the location and extent of cancer that has recurred after initial treatment and spread to other parts of the body. Prostate PET/CT scans can detect cancer earlier than either CT scans alone or MRI scans.

 

After the initial diagnosis of prostate cancer, patients undergo treatment such as surgery, cryotherapy or radiation. In some cases, the cancer may recur. Following treatment, men are monitored with periodic PSA blood tests. An increase in PSA levels indicates the cancer probably has recurred, but the location is often difficult to determine.

 

PET stands for positron emission tomography. It is usually combined at the same time with CT (computerized tomography) to improve the quality of the images and help localize abnormalities. PET employs a slightly radioactive tracer drug that hones in on the targeted tissue. PET/CT scans work well for breast, lung, colon and other cancers, but until recently did not work well for prostate cancer because there were no effective tracer drugs for the disease. That changed in May 2016 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new PET scan tracer drug specifically for prostate cancer.

 

The drug is a synthetic amino acid analog called Axumin® (fluciclovine F-18) injection. Attached to the amino acid is a radioactive tracer, fluorine-18. After Axumin is injected into the patient, the drug is taken up by prostate cancer cells. The fluorine-18 emits a small amount of energy in the form of gamma rays. The PET/CT scanner detects this energy, and a computer produces a detailed image.

 

For more information about this service, please call 402-420-7000.