Diagnostic testing is used to diagnose, locate and evaluate cancer. Tests may include one or more of the following:
Arkansas Cancer Institute can perform lab tests, CT scans and MUGA scans on site. We also provide PET services on a weekly basis.
Your doctor may want to collect specimens of blood, urine, or other fluid or tissue to be analyzed in a lab for signs of cancer. Lab analysis of these samples may show cancer cells, proteins or other substances made by the cancer. Blood and urine tests can also indicate how well your organs are functioning and if they’ve been affected by cancer.
CT scan, or computed tomography, is a painless, noninvasive procedure that is used to provide detailed views of the bones, blood vessels, brain and dense tissues. With CT, cross-sectional images are produced in a series of slices similar to the slices that make up a loaf of bread. These images can then be manipulated in a computer to create 3D images. The detailed images help your doctor diagnose abnormalities, such as tumors, bleeding, bone calcification and cysts. Select areas or the whole body can be imaged in a short amount of time.
A multigated acquisition (MUGA) scan is an imaging procedure that checks to see if your heart is pumping blood properly. Certain types of chemotherapy drugs can damage the heart and its ability to pump blood to the rest of your body. If you are receiving one of these drugs, your doctor will monitor your heart health with MUGA scans at regular intervals throughout your treatment. Some cancer survivors may also need a MUGA scan as part of their follow-up care.
Prior to the test, a small amount of a radioactive material is added to red blood cells, which are injected into your bloodstream. A special camera and computer then create a moving image of your beating heart, which shows how the heart is functioning.
A bone scan is an imaging procedure that can detect bone cancer or determine if cancer from one organ, such as the breast, lungs, kidney or prostate gland, has spread (or metastasized) to the bone. It can also show abnormalities related to leukemia and lymphoma.
Prior to the procedure, a small amount of a radioactive material is injected into a vein in your arm. The material then travels through your bloodstream and into your bones. Areas that do not absorb much or any of the material show up as dark spots, which can indicate certain types of cancer. Areas that absorb a lot of the material show up as bright spots, which can indicate a tumor or infection.
A PET scan, or positron emission tomography, is an imaging procedure that can show how well your tissues and organs are functioning. Your doctor may order a PET scan to evaluate a variety of conditions, including cancer, neurological problems and heart disease.
To view organ function, you will receive a small amount of radioactive material that may be injected into a vein, inhaled or swallowed. The amount is so small that it is not harmful in any way.
The greater the chemical activity of an organ, the more radioactive material accumulates in those areas, which shows up as bright spots on the PET scan. Increased chemical activity of an organ often corresponds to areas of disease.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an imaging procedure that produces very detailed pictures of internal body structures. It is a non-invasive method that allows doctors to check for abnormalities and diagnose medical conditions, such as blood clots, tumors and orthopedic injuries.
The MRI machine uses a high-powered magnetic field and radio waves to send signals to a computer where images are created. The images are enhanced and stored in the computer. MRI scans may be used for almost any part of the body.
For more information about diagnostic testing for cancer in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, or to request an appointment with our medical oncologist, Dr. Omar Atiq or Dr. Candice Baldeo, call Arkansas Cancer Institute at (870) 535-2800.
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