PET Scans

This is a special type of body scan that typically looks at the entire body and looks for any increased activity of certain parts of the body.

The scan involves injecting a radioactive dye. The types of dyes that are used provide different type of information:

  • Most common PET scan involves a sugar molecule paired up with a radioactive marker and essentially, areas of the body that use more of that sugar, light up on the scan as “hot” or active areas. If those “hot” areas light up in unusual locations, this may be a sign of a cancer growing in that particular spot.
  • More advanced PET Scan dyes provide other types of information. In prostate cancer, we have several very exciting new PET scans because of new types of dyes available that help us detect metastatic (spread) prostate cancer spots. These scans include the Axumin and the PSMA scans.

Axumin PET Scan

  • this is a specialized type of PET scan that uses an injection of a unique dye (fluciclovine F 18) that targets prostate cancer cells
  • Axumin scan is currently approved for men with suspected prostate cancer recurrence based on elevated blood prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels following prior treatment like surgery or radiation therapy.
  • The great thing about this type of scan is that unlike the CT or bone scans, it may detect metastatic prostate cancer in recurrent cancer cases where the PSA is very low. The studies that got it FDA approved showed an overall cancer metastasis detection rate of ~40% in patients with PSA levels ≤0.79 ng/mL, rising to ~60% at PSA 0.80-2.03.
  • The test is expensive so there is a real struggle getting insurance companies to approve it but our team at BUC works hard to help patients get things done.
  • For more information about this test, please visit their site at or click here for a brochure
  • For locations of Axumin scanners, click here.


  • This type of PET scan is still under investigation and pending FDA approval but it uses a molecule that targets the membrane of prostate cells and may help in detection of metastatic prostate cancer cells.