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Positron Emission Tomography Scan


A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is used to take pictures of areas in your body. A small amount of radiation, called tracer, is put into your body before the PET scan. The tracer shows how chemicals, such as glucose (sugar), are working in your tissues. A PET scan may show an abnormal growth, such as a tumor. It may be used to show if cancer has spread. A PET scan may show disease or damage to your brain, lungs, heart, or abdomen.


Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return to go over the results of your PET scan. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Drink liquids as directed:

You may need to drink extra liquids after your PET scan. This will help flush the tracer out of your body. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have headaches or dizziness.
  • You have questions or concerns about your PET scan, condition, or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have a seizure or pass out.
  • You have trouble breathing or you cough up blood.
  • You have nausea or you are sweating for no reason.
  • You have chest pain or discomfort that spreads to your arms, jaw, or back.
  • Your arm, leg, or face feels numb or weak. This may happen on only one side of your body.
  • Your lips or nails turn blue or white.
  • You are confused, or you have trouble speaking to or understanding others.
  • You suddenly cannot see out of one or both eyes.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.