Side Effects of PET/CT Scan You Must Know
PET/CT scan is radiology test that detects cancerous cells. This is done by injecting contrast or a dye that helps pin point the affected cells. Dr. B. R. Das, the President at Research & Innovation Mentor of Molecular Pathology and Clinical Research Services, talks about the side effects associated with contrast and PET/CT scan. These are some of the issues that can crop up a PET/CT scan.
Once the scan is over you will be able to go home. You can eat and drink what you like. It is best not to be close to children for the rest of the day. This is to avoid exposing them to any radiation, although the dose is extremely small and it is just to be on the safe side. If you have had diazepam (Valium) you must not drive for the rest of the day, as it makes you drowsy.
Possible risks of a PET/CT scan
PET/CT scans are very safe. You have a radioactive injection (tracer) and the CT scan uses radiation. But the amount of radiation in the tracer is small. You are exposed to some radiation when you have the CT scan so doctors only do these scans if they are necessary. But the benefit of the scan, in finding out about your cancer, outweighs any potential risk from the radiation.
You should not usually have a PET/CT scan if you are pregnant, as there is a risk that the radiation could harm the baby. If your doctors think it is essential for you to have the scan, they will tell the staff in the scanning department and the dose of radiation will normally be reduced. You should not bring babies, young children or anyone who is pregnant to the scanning department.
If you are breast feeding, you have to express enough milk before to get your baby through the first 6 hours after the scan. This isn't because there will be radiation in the milk. It is because the mother shouldn't be holding the baby closely during the time the radiation is in her body. Some doctors recommend you get someone else to feed the baby for 24 hours, although it is safe for you to express more milk for those feeds from 6 hours after the scan.
If you have had diazepam (Valium) as part of your scan you may be drowsy afterwards and it is best if someone can go home with you.
Read about the Foods to Eat Before a PET/CT Scan
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