Lafayette General Imaging Joins National Study - 11/18/2008 -
Lafayette General Imaging announces participation in the National Oncologic PET Registry (NOPR), which will prospectively examine how the use of PET scans impacts the management of patients with suspected or known cancer.
Currently, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has guidelines in place that govern when PET scans are considered necessary (covered), and as such reimbursable. For example, PET scans for colon and rectal cancer are currently covered for diagnosis, initial staging, and for restaging when the cancer is suspected to have recurred. PET is not covered for treatment monitoring of colon cancer at this time. Lafayette General Imaging’s first enrolled patient, seen November 18, had a PET scan for prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is never a covered indication for PET, according to CMS. However, participation in the NOPR allows physicians to utilize PET when they feel the scan is necessary, and still be reimbursed.
The information gathered by the NOPR will be used to help identify the most effective use of PET in oncology patients, and will be used by CMS and other health insurance providers to decide whether to pay for PET scans for a wider range of cancer types or cancer-related indications in the future.
The equipment at Lafayette General Imaging is actually a PET/CT, which combines the PET scan with a CT scan for more accurate detection than either scan alone.
• PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography, a non-invasive imaging scan that can locate abnormal biochemistry in a patient.
• In cancer, changes in biochemistry occur before a tumor mass forms. As a result, PET can often identify the presence of disease earlier than a test which looks for a tumor mass.
• Cancer cells grow at a very fast rate, and so use more glucose than normal cells. In a PET scan, a form of glucose called FDG combined with the radioisotope fluorine-18, which emits particles called positrons, is injected into the patient.
• The FDG molecules are consumed more by the cancer cells, resulting in concentrations of the FDG and positrons in areas of cancer that the PET scan then ‘maps’.