The isotope emits gamma rays that are picked up by the scan. In cases of prostate cancer recurrence, so-called “hot spots” will be visible.
Mayo’s new method was featured in the medical journal CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. The article, which examined new advances using imaging to diagnose and treat cancer, called choline PET scanning “promising.”
This entire process is exclusive to Mayo. Only in the last few months did they get approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to do this testing. FDA approval is crucial to any type of medical testing. Without it, most insurance companies and Medicare or Medicaid won’t cover it. And these tests are costly.
Stephen Thome, an oncologist with Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato, said they’ve already sent Mankato-area patients to Rochester for choline PET scans. And patients who go to Rochester, he said, don’t have to worry about records transferring. Mayo is all digital, and any Mayo patient from Mankato will have their records available to Mayo Clinic radiologists.
Post scan, Mankato-area patients can have all their care handled in Mankato. The only trip they need to make to Rochester is for the scan.
For now, the choline PET scan has only been approved for prostate cancer. But Thome said that’s only because this was the first kind of tumor that has been vetted for FDA approval. It’s likely that this technology will be tested to see if it will work on other forms of cancer. He said there’s already talk about collaborating with scientists who work with ovarian cancer.