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What should you consider before having a lung PET scan?

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Consider the risks of a PET scan, such as an allergic reaction or exposing an unborn or a breastfeeding child to radiation, says Mayo Clinic. The risk of negative effects is low because the amount of radiation is small.

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Other considerations when contemplating a PET scan include a fear of enclosed spaces and any use of medications or vitamins and herbal supplements. Also consider illness or medical conditions, such as diabetes, notes Mayo Clinic.

Compare the benefits of the test with the slight chance of tissue or cell damage, says WebMD. Early stages of lung cancer and other cancers show up more clearly on a PET scan than a CT or MRI scan. PET scans are used to check blood flow, evaluate cancer and see how organs are working. PET scans use a radioactive fluid and a special type of camera to look at organs. They do not provide much detail, so they may be combined with a CT scan.

Other things to consider are the process and the value of the results, states WebMD. After injecting the radioactive tracer, patients wait 30 to 60 minutes, then lie still on a table while the scanner moves around the table. It takes one to three hours to complete the scan, and being inside the scanner makes some people nervous. Results may not be helpful if a patient uses tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, sedatives or insulin.

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