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Summit Health provides comprehensive health care, including the uniquely accurate PSMA PET/CT scan. For men living with prostate cancer, an improved PSMA PET/CT scan could mean an improved prostate cancer treatment plan. At our Florham Park location, patients have access to this state-of-the-art imaging that can detect disease that may otherwise be missed. Talk to your doctor about whether PSMA PET/CT imaging may be the best option for you.

Is PSMA PET imaging for you?

If you have prostate cancer, you are not alone. More than 3.1 million American men are currently living with the disease. There are 3 key parts of prostate cancer imaging to consider with your doctor:

  • Imaging with PET (positron emission tomography) technology: provides a deeper understanding of prostate cancer.
  • Targeting PSMA (prostate-specific membrane antigen): detects disease that may otherwise be missed.
  • Fluorine-18 tracer: helps deliver clear, detailed, and high-quality images.

How does PSMA PET imaging work?

PSMA PET imaging offers a deeper understanding of prostate cancer. It works by injecting a tracer, an imaging agent that contains a small amount of radioactive material. This agent contains small molecules, which will guide the tracer to targets in or on tumor cells and reveal the image to a radiologist1,2,4. PET imaging shows potential tumor cells and may help your doctor determine whether they are behaving like normal cells or like cancer cells3.

How can PSMA PET imaging help you and your doctor?

Compared with CT, MRI, and bone imaging, PSMA PET imaging is:

  • Comprehensive: it may find tumors across the prostate, bones, lymph nodes, and other organs1.
  • Specific: it may be able to reliably tell the difference between cancer and healthy cells3.
  • Sensitive: it may find tumors before they would appear on other images1. The PSMA PET imaging allows doctors to detect tumors as small as 2mm.

How is the procedure performed?

Drink plenty of fluids before and after your scan. Upon arrival your weight will be recorded and an intravenous (IV) catheter line will be placed in your arm. You will receive an injection of the tracer, imaging agent, one hour prior to your PET/CT scan. While you are waiting, the tracer will circulate through your bloodstream and into any cancer cells that may be present. During the procedure, you will lie on your back on the scanner bed with your arms raised above your head. The scanner bed will move slowly into the scanner and the scan will begin. It is a flow motion and the opening to the scanner is approximately 78 cm (30 in), allowing peace of mind for those patients who may have claustrophobia. Don’t worry, the scan will be painless and typically takes up to 25 minutes.

Are there side effects?

In clinical trials, side effects were minor and rare. The most common side effects were headache (2% of patients), unusual taste (2% of patients), and fatigue (1% of patients). In addition, a hypersensitivity reaction was reported in 1 patient (0.2%) with a history of allergic reactions.

What can I expect post procedure?

After your scan, the results will be sent to your doctor. Be sure to continue to hydrate and go to the bathroom for the first few hours. Schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor so you can review the results together and discuss the best treatment plan for you.

Meet Our Team

John McCormick, MD

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Radiology, Cancer Services

Our Florham Park location is in a unique position as the only facility in the area offering this state-of-the-art imaging which helps to detect prostate cancer with greater accuracy than other conventional imaging.

See your health clearly. Imaging could help you and your doctor understand your prostate cancer and make better treatment choices.

Most insurances are accepted. A prescription is required to perform the scan.


References: 1.Alipour R, Azad A, Hofman MS. Ther Adv Med Oncol. 2019; 11:1-14. doi: 10.1177/1758835919876828. 2.Werner RA, Derlin T, Lapa C., et al. Theranostics. 2020; 10(1):1-16. doi:10.7150/thno.37894. 3.Griffeth LK. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2005;18(4):321-330. doi:10.1080/08998280.2005. 4.PET/CT - Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography. Radiologyinfo. Updated August 1, 2019. Accessed May 12, 2020.