SNM issues first procedure guideline for imaging cancer in adults and children with PET/CT

ysicians, technologists and medical physicists," added Delbeke.

PET and CT are standard imaging tools that can be used to pinpoint the location of cancer within the body. The highly sensitive PET detects the metabolic signal of actively growing cancer cells. When PET is used to image cancer, a radiopharmaceutical (such as FDG, which includes both a sugar and a radionuclide) is injected into a patient. Cancer cells metabolize sugar at higher rates than normal cells, and the radiopharmaceutical is thus drawn in higher concentrations to cancerous areas. A PET scan shows where the radiopharmaceutical is by tracking signals given off by the drug. CT is an X-ray procedure that generates a detailed view of internal anatomy. When these two results are fused together, they can reveal the size, shape and location of cancer cells with a high level of accuracy.

As discussed in the guideline, "Only appropriately trained, qualified physicians should interpret PET/CT images." The guideline includes a summary of PET/CT on-the-job training requirements for interpreting images that was developed by a collaborative working group and published in the July 2005 issue of JNM. Traditional training guidelines recommend a set number of continuing education credit and a set number of cases interpreted under supervision. However, alternative approaches such as determining the accuracy of each physician's interpretation compared to his or her peers using a workstation simulator and a report generation and scoring system may have equal or greater validity.

In addition, to be eligible for the recertification examination of the American Board of Nuclear Medicine, diplomates will need to participate in a maintenance of certification program and continue training in PET, CT and PET/CT image interpretation.

To help molecular and nuclear imaging professionals meet these guidelines and maintenance of certification for ABNM, SNM debuted its online maintenance of certi

Contact: Maryann Verrillo
Society of Nuclear Medicine

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