Recurring prostate cancer is much more common than people think.
But a quick and painless test being offered right here in the Valley may be just what the doctor ordered.
The new procedure, called a "Carbon-11-Acetate PET/CT scan," will tell doctors, in only 20 minutes, where exactly cancer has returned.
Unlike other cancers, prostate cancer imaging presents its own set of challenges. The new test, still officially in clinical trials, uses carbon acetate to detect a recurrence of cancer.
"This scan is really proving to be one of the most satisfying, being we're able to answer the question and be fairly definitive. In medicine that isn't always the case that we're able to do that," said Dr. Fabio Almeida with the Arizona Molecular Imaging Center in Phoenix.
Almeida's facility is one of the few locations nationwide offering the unique new test. Patient feedback has been extremely positive, and because of that it's in very high demand.
"Because of the independent nature of this facility, our protocols are open to the entire community here in Arizona so we do see a significant number of patients from Phoenix and from Tucson, but about half of our patients are coming from out of state," said Almeida.
Although Medicare will not pay for the test until it gains FDA approval (hopefully within six months to a year), some insurance companies will pay for all or part of the exam. Otherwise, the out-of-pocket expense is around $3,000.
For more information on the Carbon-11-Acetate PET/CT scan or the Arizona Molecular Imaging Center, click here.
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