Positron emission topography (PET)—also called PET imaging or a PET scan—is a noninvasive, painless molecular imaging technology that allows physicians to determine how organs and tissues inside the body are functioning on a molecular and cellular level. PET is a powerful diagnostic tool that is advancing our understanding of the underlying causes of disease and improving the way in which many diseases are detected and treated. PET scans are one of the most effective types of nuclear medicine procedures for detecting cancer, brain disorders, heart conditions and other diseases. PET scans have advanced greatly since it was introduced in the 1970s, and PET scans are more and more widely used. In 2005, an estimated 1,129,900 clinical PET patient studies were performed at 1,725 sites around the country.
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