Nuclear medicine in Spain. Diagnosis and Treatment
Nuclear medicine is an innovative area that uses radioactive isotopes as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool. The use of isotopes allows specialists to make a diagnosis in the most difficult or controversial cases, where conventional tomography is ineffective.
This plays a key role in oncology, where early diagnosis determines the prognosis and success of treatment and increases the chances of recovery or long-term remission. Nuclear medicine also comes to the rescue where it is necessary to clarify an already made diagnosis. For example, to identify the primary focus of tumor development. This is critical in developing a treatment plan.
WHAT IS PET-CT and SPECT ?
In addition to the use of radioactive isotopes, nuclear medicine also includes techniques for external beam radiation therapy and diagnostics. In particular, we are talking about the use of single-photon emission tomographs, the so-called SPECT-devices that work with gamma radiation, and PET scanners. Both groups of devices are used to study the state of tissues and organs, as well as to monitor metabolic processes.
Medicine today is well aware that cancer cells develop especially actively, and a lot of glucose is required for their growth. With the help of modern tomographs, doctors have the opportunity to observe the growth processes of cancer cells, as well as timely identify the initiation of the cancer process.
There are several diagnostic centers in Valencia that use the latest advances in nuclear medicine. In the clinics of Valencia, it is possible to undergo a full examination for the detection of malignant neoplasms in the early stages.
NUCLEAR MEDICINE IN SPAIN. GENERAL INFORMATION
Diagnostics on a SPECT nuclear tomograph using a gamma camera makes it possible to obtain visual images of the examined area, tissue or organ. These images give the diagnostician a comprehensive understanding of the state of the organ, its morphological and functional characteristics.
The use of PET-CT (Positron Emission Tomography) technology makes it possible to obtain three-dimensional images. This technique has become widespread in the study of metabolism, which is of critical importance in the diagnosis of malignant neoplasms.
In the last decade, thanks to the active development of nuclear medicine both in Spain and in other countries, more than a hundred types of research have appeared that allow diagnosing a wide range of diseases at an early stage. So, it is nuclear medicine that makes it possible to identify malignant tumors in the rudiment and prevent their further progression. Achievements of nuclear diagnostics are used today not only in oncology, but also in other fields of medicine.
NUCLEAR MEDICINE AND THERAPY
In addition to diagnostic purposes, nuclear medicine is widely used for medicinal purposes. The use of its technologies makes it possible to carry out selective cancer treatment – the injected substances go directly to the affected area. This makes it possible to act only on cancer cells, avoiding negative consequences for healthy tissues.
Today, medicine has a large number of radiopharmaceuticals, due to which the number of treatment and diagnostics methods is also growing. Many experts believe that nuclear medicine is the future in cancer treatment and the future of personalized medicine in general.
APPLICATION PET SCAN
One of the most effective methods for diagnosing and treating malignant tumors is PET. PET is an innovative method – in this case, diagnostics are performed using equipment with a special video system and tracer preparations, which make it possible to study the state of internal organs in detail. A specially prepared glucose solution most often acts as a tracer. Glucose, getting into the body, settles in those cells that need it the most – among them are cancer cells.
Another new diagnostic technique is PET scanning. Using a gamma camera, the equipment registers accumulations of previously administered radiopharmaceuticals in bone structures. Scanning also allows you to observe a range of cellular changes, including changes in molecular and biochemical parameters. Finally, PET-CT allows the diagnostician to obtain complete information about the anatomy of the organ, its shape, size, position and changes occurring in it.
Numerous studies show that PET-CT is the most accurate method for diagnosing patients with cancer. Moreover, the diagnosticians note, the use of PET and CT separately does not give such a pronounced effect.
The information obtained by the PET-CT method can be used to diagnose the widest range of diseases, including:
- malignant neoplasms and metastasis (PET-CT in this case is used to assess the spread of cancer cells and monitor the course of treatment),
- ischemia – diagnostics allows you to assess blood flow and identify scars formed as a result of previous attacks, as well as identify those areas that are characterized by reduced performance,
- memory impairment in the absence of a clear etiology,
- epilepsy – in particular, with the localization of foci of the disease,
- brain tumors (diagnosed and suspected).
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PET-CT
-What is a radiopharmacological drugs?
A radiopharmacological grug is a combination of a radioactive isotope with an organic or inorganic substance. The isotope can be glucose, fluorine, thallium, or technetium. The finished drug is used in the course of diagnostics, as well as in the treatment of certain diseases, mainly in oncology. In particular, radiopharmaceuticals are used in radiation therapy.
-What is the duration of the examination?
On average, the examination lasts 30-60 minutes.
-Is there any discomfort?
No, the patient does not experience any discomfort or pain during the diagnosis.
-Is special training required before diagnosis?
No, it is not required. However, the patient must notify the doctor that he is taking any medications – it may be necessary to interrupt the appointment for a short time.
-Are there any side effects of the diagnosis?
No, no side effects have been reported so far.
-Is it allowed to undergo PET-CT for breastfeeding women?
Diagnosis by this method is not recommended during breastfeeding, since radiopreparations can be excreted in breast milk.
-Is the presence of accompanying persons allowed during the diagnosis?
Of course. But it is better if they are adults, not children.
-Is it allowed to undergo PET-CT diagnostics during pregnancy?
In no case. If there is a suspicion of pregnancy, then a test must be taken before diagnosis.
Nuclear medicine in Spain: You can sign up for a diagnosis in Valencia in Russian by contacting VALINTERMED.