PSMA PET Scan for Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with 1 in 8 being diagnosed in their lifetime.

Early detection of prostate cancer is crucial. The good news is prostate cancer can be cured when it is detected and treated early. In fact, early detection of prostate cancer is crucial for a more favorable long-term diagnosis.

At Valley Radiology, our team is experienced in reading and interpreting PSMA PET scans for various hospital systems that perform them as a prostate cancer check.

Here, we discuss them in more detail below. Continue reading to learn more.

What Is a PSMA PET Scan?

A PSMA PET scan is a diagnostic tool that uses medical imaging called positron emission tomography (PET) to detect prostate cancer on cellular and molecular levels in the body. PSMA stands for prostate-specific membrane antigen, a protein found on the surface of prostate cancer cells.

This scan uses an extremely sensitive radioactive tracer called Ga-PSMA-11, to detect cells or growths with PSMA in and around the prostate. PSMA is present in approximately 80% of men with prostate cancer, making this scan highly effective.

What Do a PSMA PET Imaging Results Show?

PSMA PET scan results provide highly detailed images of prostate cancer in the body. Using the radioactive tracer highlights areas where PSMA is present.

It is often combined with a computer tomography (CT) scan to capture both anatomical images and changes on the molecular level. This combination gives healthcare providers extremely accurate diagnosis, staging, and treatment planning images.

The PSMA PET scan is well-known for its ability to detect early-stage prostate cancer, contributing to faster treatment and better health outcomes.

Does a PSMA PET Scan Detect Other Cancers?

While it is predominantly used to detect prostate cancer in men, the PSMA PET scan can also be used to detect solid tumors, like those found in the breast, brain, lung, and reproductive organs.

How Long Does a PSMA PET Scan Take?

The entire PSMA PET scan procedure can take up to two hours, with active scanning time between 10-12 minutes. Most of this time is spent waiting while the tracer circulates throughout the body.

How Long Does It Take to Get PSMA PET Scan Results?

Once your scan is complete, it will be evaluated and interpreted by a Valley Radiology board-certified radiologist. Next, a detailed report of our findings will be sent to your primary care doctor.

In most cases, the report and scan results are available within 24 hours. However, confirming with your healthcare provider when to expect results is essential.

PSMA PET Scan Preparation Tips

Unlike other PET scans, prep for PSMA PET scans is very straightforward.

There is no need to fast, avoid certain foods, or halt medications (including antibiotics). You can eat and drink as you usually do before this scan.

PSMA PET scans offer a straightforward, non-invasive method for accurate diagnosis and monitoring, providing reassurance through their simplicity and effectiveness in detecting and managing various conditions.