PET stands for Positron Emission Tomography and CT is short for Computed Tomography. A PET-CT scan collects information on how your tissues and organs are currently working. This information can be used to locate, diagnose, and monitor many health issues including cancer. The scanner equipment looks like a standard CT machine.
During a PET-CT scan, a small amount of radioactive material called radiotracers, or radiopharmaceuticals, are injected into a vein in your arm or hand. These radiotracers help the PET-CT scanner detect where issues may be located and help determine the best treatment possible. PET-CT scans give your health professional information not available from other types of scans.