PET scans require specific advance preparation. PET scans show glucose uptake to cells, which indicates cell activity and, thus, possible areas of cancer activity. Glucose uptake can also occur because of other cell activity including muscle movements or contractions from such minimal activities as reading, chewing gum, texting or talking. For this reason, an hour prior to the scan, the technician will provide you with a comfy chair, cover you with blankets to keep you comfortably warm, turn out the lights and let you lie back and relax.
Once I forgot about fasting the morning of the PET scan and ate a teaspoon of cereal. When I called to let them know, they thanked me for letting them know and told me we would have to reschedule the scan because just that little bit of food would contaminate the scan. After having gone through this a few times, I have a set of instructions I follow so that my techs will have a good scan for review for my oncologist.
24 hours in advance
start eating mostly protein
avoid strenuous exercise
12 hours in advance
no caffeine (be aware decaffeinated beverages have some caffeine)
no chewing gum
no strenuous exercise
6 hours in advance
no food or drink, except water and regular medications
ask about this in advance: diabetic medications, including insulin, require specific instructions; consult with your doctor and the PET scan technicians about diabetic meds. Usually, the PET scan staff asks whether you are diabetic when setting up the scan; if not, let them know if you are.
arriving at lab for PET scan
Before I had my PowerPort, I had to endure the time and the numerous needle sticks before they could prep me for the scan. After I got my PowerPort I thought it would be easy. It was, except that I learned that the imaging center did not always have on hand the particular needle for the PowerPort nor were the staff as expert at accessing the port. I started stopping by my infusion center so one of the nurses there could access my PowePort with the appropriate needle for imaging before I headed over to the imaging lab. That really streamlines the entire process. After my scan, I return to the infusion center where they remove the needle.
after PET scan
drink lots of water to flush out the radioactive tracer
Since my scan is early Tuesday morning, tomorrow we will go out for lunch or dinner so that I can plan for my PET scan prep on Monday.
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