As part of our mission to embrace innovative healthcare solutions, Provision Diagnostic Imaging recognizes the PSMA PET/CT scan as a breakthrough diagnostic technology for prostate cancer treatment. In 2021, we became the first imaging center in East Tennessee to offer the PSMA PET/CT scan to patients.
The PSMA PET/CT can allow for more precise treatment of metastatic prostate cancer by giving physicians better insight into whether a targeted or systemic treatment is more appropriate. It can also allow for early, targeted treatment of localized cancer recurrence.
What is a PSMA PET/CT scan?
A PSMA PET/CT scan uses prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) to determine whether prostate cancer is spreading to other parts of the body. PSMA proteins are found on the surface of prostate cancer cells. The PSMA PET/CT scans throughout the patient’s body for these proteins using a radioactive material injected into the body that attaches to PSMA proteins. The CT scan creates a 3D image of the body and the PET scan “lights up” areas where the material has attached to the proteins. By combining CT and PET scan technologies, the PSMA PET/CT scan results can show specific regions of the body where prostate cancer is present.
Who should get a PSMA PET/CT scan?
A PSMA PET/CT scan is very useful for several prostate cancer indications:
- For patients diagnosed with intermediate to high-risk prostate cancer, it can help determine if the cancer is still localized or has spread to other parts of the body.
- If it is already known the patient has metastatic prostate cancer, the PSMA PET/CT can show exactly where those sites of spread are located. This allows for better decision-making regarding treatment.
- The PSMA PET/CT scan is also clinically indicated for use in detecting recurring cancer in men who have already been treated for localized prostate cancer but have rising PSA levels. This can help the physician determine whether a targeted or systemic therapy is more appropriate.
What to expect from a PSMA PET/CT scan
- Other than some mild discomfort at the injection site, a PSMA PET/CT scan is completely painless and has no side effects.
- You will receive an injection of a small amount of radioactive material.
- About 60 minutes after the injection, you will empty your bladder, then lie down on a scanner bed.
- Images of your body will be taken as you lie still on the scanner bed.
- A typical scan takes approximately 20 minutes.
- You can expect to be at the imaging center for approximately 2 hours from start to finish.
Preparing for your scan
- Please arrive approximately 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time to allow for the registration process.
- Wear warm and comfortable clothing. Scanner rooms can sometimes be cool.
- No fasting is required for PSMA PET/CT patients.
- Patients should drink 32 oz. of water the morning of their exam.
- No strenuous exercise the day of your exam (example: working out, jogging, etc.).
- Be prepared to lie still while the scan is performed.
Your PSMA PET/CT scan results will be reported to your referring physician, usually within 1-2 business days. Your referring physician will contact you with your results.