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Treatments & Services

Diagnostic Imaging

Diagnostic imaging tests and scans are important for accurately diagnosing and staging cancer, as well as tracking the progress of treatment. Our in-office imaging center provides the most advanced imaging services available. From Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Computed Tomography (CT) to combination PET/CT scans, you can schedule and receive the tests and scans required for your personalized care. Our Niles location features a fixed 3 ring combination PET/CT. 

Illinois Cancer Specialists is an ACR Accredited Facility for both CT and PET. This means our facility has met the standards for the highest level of quality and radiation safety. Our staff has been thoroughly reviewed and accredited by the American College of Radiology, a national professional organization serving radiologists, radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine physicians and medical physicists.

What is a CT Scan?

Computerized Tomography, commonly referred to as CT or CAT scan, is an examination, which takes x-ray "slices" of you in a two-dimensional format as you move through a “donut shaped” machine. The examination is painless and most exams are completed in 30 to 45 minutes or less.  Your exam is interpreted by a radiologist who in turn gives your physician a written report of the exam results. Your physician will notify you of the results.

CT allows your physician to evaluate internal organs and tissues in ways that regular X-Rays cannot.

How to Prepare for a CT Scan

  • If you are having a CT of your abdomen & pelvis, you will be given special instructions and something to drink prior to the exam.
  • Most examinations require that an IV contrast material be administered to visualize structures in the body. A blood test called a BUN and Creatinine has to be performed within 30 days of your CT exam to determine if this contrast material can be given.
  • It is important to let us know if you are allergic to iodine or x-ray dye.
  • If you have had an exam at another facility, we will need you to bring the films for comparison. It is your responsibility to acquire and bring these on the day of your exam.

Day of Exam

  • You will be asked to fill out a short medical history form.
  • You will be given additional contrast to drink if you are having a CT of the abdomen and pelvis.
  • Some CT exams require a gown to be worn.
  • You will be laying down on a table that moves through the scanner.
  • If you have received the IV contrast, we encourage you to drink extra fluids to “wash out” the contrast.

What is a PET Scan?

PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography and is used for detection and diagnosis of cancer including lung, breast, melanoma, lymphoma, colorectal, head and neck, ovarian, pancreatic, esophageal and other cancers.

Cancer can spread silently in the body. When symptoms appear, it may signal more advanced disease. PET exposes "silent" disease. PET allows a physician to examine large areas of the body in a single scanning session, producing images of human body functions unobtainable by other imaging techniques.  These images capture biochemical processes, such as tissue glucose metabolism, that often cannot be revealed by anatomical imaging with conventional X-ray, CT, or MRI.

Patient Benefits

  • Potential reduction of invasive procedures such as biopsies or other local
  • Therapies that may not be helpful.
  • Greater peace of mind for patients and their families, knowing that this technology provides comprehensive information.  This technology also eliminates a "wait and see" approach, commonly used to monitor the patient during post-treatment.  It may be used during the actual treatment phase at times to evaluate the patient's response to therapy.
  • To evaluate the significance of changes seen on CT exams or other imaging modalities.

The types of cancer that are most commonly evaluated with a PET scan include breast, esophageal, cervical, melanoma, lymphoma, lung, colorectal, head and neck, and ovarian cancers. 

PET technology can help physicians answer the critical questions for many cancer patients in one exam including the following:

  • Is a lesion benign or malignant?
  • Where is the cancer? Is it spreading?
  • What is the optimal therapy?
  • Is the therapy working?
  • Is there a recurrence of cancer?

Axumin Scan for Prostate Cancer

An Axumin scan is used to help detect any recurrence of prostate cancer. Axumin is a diagnostic imaging agent that is used with a PET/CT scan for men who have had prior treatment of prostate cancer and now have elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels. An Axumin scan is used to help your doctor determine if and where your prostate cancer has returned. Prior to the PET/CT scan, you will receive the Axumin injection through an IV. The scan will take around 20- 30 minutes.