New Test May Indicate Chemo Effectiveness In Days

One of the many difficult issues associated with a six week chemotherapy process is that the patient, caregivers, and doctors have to wait almost the full six weeks to find out if it's working. If it is, great. If not, weeks of valuable time have been lost—weeks that can make the difference between life and death, weeks that could have been spent on a different, more effective set of chemo drugs.

Fortunately, a slight twist on an old medical imaging stand-by may reduce that time to as little as a few days: PET scans.

In PET scans, the patient is injected with a radioactive substance that highlights processes and activities within the body. Since PET scans can show the internal activity of a tumor, they're better than MRIs and CT scans, which can only show the size of the tumor.

The twist is in the substance used, radioactive fluorothymidine, which is why the test is called an FLT PET scan. Although the research is small and it's still some time away from being implimented, some doctors and scientists are very excited about the FLT PET scan, and believe it has the potential to determine the effectiveness of chemotherapy on patients with lymphomas or leukemias within a day or two.

I know I'm not alone in hoping and praying that researchers don't drag their heels on this one.

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