Women's Cancer Care at The Washington Hospital
Cancer is never an easy word to hear. However, please be assured that
if you or a member of your family need cancer care, weÕre ready to
help when you need it most.
At The Washington Hospital, our comprehensive cancer center is an
accredited community cancer program, offering a full range of diagnostic
treatment tools and services. And our WomenÕs Health Center provides
a complete range of womenÕs services that includes breast care, ultrasound,
osteoporosis screening and more.
The medical expertise available in our centers is second to none.
And, we offer the most sophisticated, state-of-the-art technology
available anywhere, including Positron Emission Tomography (PET),
which scans the entire body to locate cancers; and Intensity Modulated
Radiation Therapy (IMRT), which uses complex computer planning systems
to apply radiation directly to tumors, with minimal exposure to surrounding
Medical excellence and the latest cancer fighting technology in the
region--two more reasons why The Washington Hospital is The Right
Choice. Right Here.
PET Scanning and the Fight Against Breast Cancer
Michelle Kirshen, M.D., is a radiologist in The Cancer Center at The
Q. What is PET scanning?
Positron emission tomography (PET), a state-of-the-art imaging technique,
provides early detection of cancer or tumors and reduces the need
for invasive surgical procedures. PET scans can be used to evaluate
cancer on patients already diagnosed with breast cancer, as well as
those already undergoing treatment for recurrent breast cancer.
Q. Does a PET scan screen for breast cancer?
No. But if youÕve been diagnosed with breast cancer, the PET scan
enables us to view the entire body to see if there are any other areas
of cancer involvement. You must also have a CT scan prior to the PET
scan, and physician referral is needed.
Q. How does a PET scan differ from CT and MRI scans?
Unlike CT and MRI, which only scan the parts of the body in which
cancer is suspected, PET scans the entire body. By examining and tracking
the function of cancer cells, PET detects cancer earlier. WeÕve had
instances at The Washington Hospital in which PET has detected concealed,
unsuspected cancers in patients who presented with cancer in another
part of the body.
Q. What does a PET scan involve?
The patient prepares by fasting for four hours. After her history
and medical information are reviewed, the patient receives an injection
of non-toxic radioactive material, then is asked to relax for about
an hour while the material circulates. Then the scan takes place.
Q. How long does it take to perform the scan?
Only about 40 minutes. The Washington Hospital has one of the fastest
PET scanners available.