Diagnostic Imaging

PET-CT

PET ScannerDiablo Valley Oncology / Hematology Medical Group’s patients are benefitted by on-site access to a state-of-the-art “high definition” PET-CT imaging system. PET-CT is, for most cancers, the best imaging modality available for diagnosis and staging at the time that a patient’s tumor is first discovered. Further, it is often the preferred technique to evaluate the cancer’s response to treatment. The Diablo Valley Oncology PET-CT system, the Biograph TruePoint 6 manufactured by Siemens, has features that place this system at the top of the Bay Area’s offerings in terms of sensitive and accurate cancer imaging. Several of the technologies are unique among Bay Area systems, and are not even available at the university medical centers.

To contact our PET / CT department at California Care Imaging Center directly call 925-826-1900.

Our high definition PET yields outstanding detail and clarity, with less unwanted noise and distortion, in comparison to the usual scanners more readily available in Northern California. Additionally, because more of the body is covered in each step of the imaging procedure, the scan times are shorter with less radioactive isotope administered per patient. The CT component of Diablo Valley Oncology’s PET-CT system affords state-of-the-art multi-detector computed slice imaging, maximizing the performance and minimizing radiation exposure when operating in CT-only mode.

The actual technique of PET (positron emission tomography) scanning is unique in medicine. A sugar molecule is bonded to a radioactive element (which releases positrons). After the sugar is injected, it is taken up by the active cells within the body. The reason the scan is so successful is that cancer is, in general, more metabolically active than other body tissues, and so takes up more sugar. As an aside the heart, brain and muscle light up on PET scans because they too are very metabolically active. After the cancer takes up the sugar, the radioactive element is retained in the tissue and then positrons are released and visualized by the scanner. A breakthrough in radiology was developed in 2003, when PET scanning was performed on a combined PET and CAT scan machine, enabling more precise localization of the abnormal uptake. CT scanning (computed axial tomography) is strictly an anatomic imaging; it can only reveal the presence or absence of tissue, but cannot determine whether this tissue is malignant. The combination of a metabolic scan (the PET scan) and an anatomic scan (the CAT scan) assists in the determination of where any abnormal tissue is located and whether or not that tissue is malignant (cancerous).

For a download-able diagnostic imaging form, please click link.

 

 

MRI

MRIMRI combines a strong magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce high-resolution, cross-sectional images of internal organs and tissues. The exam is painless, non-invasive and free of radiation. MRI’s ability to distinguish differences in tissue compositiion has made it the modality of choice in imaging the central nervous system and a variety of soft tissue structures. At CCIC, the patient friendly design of the Siemens Symphony 1.5T MRI will provide you with a timely and comfortable MRI experience. This high-field, short bore, and flared opening scanner, provides clear and detailed images.

  • Body Imaging
  • Neurological Imaging
  • Musculoskeletal
  • MR Angiography

 

An extremely important component of the radiographic evaluation of a cancer patient involves the skill of the radiologist, the person who interprets the scan. Dr. Barry Engelstad has been the director of the center since its inception in 2003. As a prior associate professor of radiology and nuclear medicine at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center for 9 years, he was already an expert in his field. Because our scanner is one of the busiest in the country, Dr. Engelstad has now had more experience than almost any other physician at reading these combined scans. His knowledge and experience, combined with the excellent technology, yields the highest quality radiology results attainable anywhere. Furthermore, our physicians, technicians and staff have been working together since the inception of the center. Steve and Nick care about each and every patient and strive to make your visit as pleasant an experience as possible, while ensuring exacting and meticulous adherence to protocol. The executive director, Lora Sanders, ensures that the center operates smoothly; she is always available to try to assist with problems and improve the center in any way possible. Even if you do not receive your cancer treatment at the California Cancer and Research Institute, you should certainly obtain your imaging here, so as to avail yourself to Dr. Engelstad and his team’s expertise.

For a download-able diagnostic imaging form, please click link.