What is a PET-CT scan?

A PET-CT scan is a type of advanced imaging scan which can be used to locate many types of cancer and to monitor your progress during different stages of your cancer journey. 

It’s a type of precise imaging technique that uses a special radiotracer (a mildly radioactive drug) to detect abnormal cells. The radiotracer is injected into a vein in your arm or hand before the scan, and the PET-CT scanning equipment will detect areas where abnormal cells are located. Different radiotracers are used to detect different types of cancer. 

PET-CT scans are more accurate in diagnosing cancer than a PET scan or CT scan alone and are more sensitive than other imaging tests. We use PET-CT scans for many types of cancers and during different parts of your cancer journey as they can also be used to show how your cancer treatment is progressing. PET-CT scans have also played an important role in cancer research and treatment development.

One of our expert consultants will assess each scan carefully before providing your referring clinician with your results. At a follow-up appointment, your clinician will help you understand what your results mean and discuss your treatment options.

At GenesisCare, we aim to provide PET-CT scans within 48 hours of referral and send your results within 24-48 hours of completing the scan to your referring clinician.

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Contact us today to book an appointment for fast access to advanced diagnostics or if you'd like a second opinion.

0808 304 2332
0808 304 2332

What is a PET scan?

A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is a type of diagnostic imaging test that we use to check how well certain parts of your body are working. It uses a special dye called a radiotracer that is injected into your arm. We use different types of radiotracers depending on what your Consultant has asked us to investigate. The PET scanner will detect where the radiotracer has distributed in your body and produces detailed 3D images.

What is a CT scan?

A computerised tomography (CT) scan is a type of diagnostic imaging test that we use to look at the structure of your body. It uses X-rays to take multiple images of your body, which are then processed by a computer to produce detailed images of the inside of your body.

A PET-CT scan combines both methods to create a more detailed image of the function and structure of your body than if we were to use just one type of scan.

How do PET-CT scans work?

The PET (positron emission tomography) scanner detects the radiation given off by a radiotracer that has been injected into a vein in your arm or hand.  It shows how your body is working, rather than just what it looks like anatomically. The radiotracer has been modified to seek out and specifically attach to the condition your referring clinician is interested in investigating.

When looking for cancer,  PET imaging can identify changes and also find cancer cells that have spread to other parts of the body that can’t be seen on other imaging scans. When the radiotracer attaches to and accumulates around a tumour, it shows up on your PET scan as a radioactive hot spot. Your radiologist or nuclear medicine specialist can easily see this area of increased radiotracer uptake. These are healthcare professionals who are specially trained to understand the images produced by the PET-CT scanner. 

The CT (computed tomography) scan uses X-ray radiation to take a series of X-ray images from different angles around your body. Each X-ray image is called a ‘slice’ and produces very detailed images of your anatomy.  A computer combines your PET (functional) and CT (structural) images to create extremely detailed 3D images of the inside of your body. Our expert radiologists will then view these images and produce a report.

After your scan, the radiotracer won’t stay in your body for long and is eliminated naturally.

Why do I need a PET-CT scan?

Your consultant may suggest you undergo a PET-CT scan so we can:

  • Diagnose your cancer
  • Stage your cancer (find out its size and see if it’s spread)
  • Determine if you can have surgery to remove your cancer
  • Choose your treatment options
  • Plan radiotherapy treatment
  • See how well your cancer is responding to treatment or if it’s come back


Types of radiotracers and their uses

We use a specific type of radiotracer depending on what we’re looking for during the scan. These radiotracers are mildly radioactive, but your exposure to harmful radiation is minimal. If you have any concerns or want some more information about the risks of a PET-CT scan and the amount of radiation you’ll receive, your consultant will be able to answer these queries.

Both 68Gallium PSMA and 68Gallium Dotatate are made at our onsite radiopharmacy in Windsor which means we can provide fast access to the scans that are essential to your treatment.

How much does a PET-CT scan cost?

The cost of a PET-CT scan starts from £1,400. However, this price can change depending on the area of your body that needs to be scanned. This is because imaging larger areas or multiple parts of your body require several scans to be taken by an experienced radiographer or technologist. One of our expert consultants will then assess each scan carefully before providing your referring clinicians with your results.

Private PET-CT scan costs at GenesisCare

  • 68Gallium PSMA PET-CT – from £2,500
  • 68Gallium Dotatate PET-CT – from £2,500
  • 18F FDG PET-CT half body – from £1,400
  • 18F FDG PET-CT full body – from £1,600
  • SPECT-CT prices vary on isotopes


We’re recognised by all major private medical insurers and also offer a range of self-payment options. We can help guide you through the referral process.

At GenesisCare, we aim to provide PET-CT scans within 48 hours of receiving a request.

Book an appointment

If you’re worried about symptoms or would like a second opinion, find your nearest centre to book an appointment or make an enquiry.

0808 304 2332
0808 304 2332

What to expect when having your scan

It’s important to know what to expect when having your PET-CT scan. If you have any other concerns, please speak to your consultant. PET-CT scans are painless and help us in planning the best treatment pathway for you.

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