PET oncology scan

What is the test?

It is a scan to look for and check tumors, the spread of tumors, and tumor response to treatment.

Your appointment

If you make any changes to your insurance before your test please call Registration at 1-866-309-0832. This will help lessen delays and the need to reschedule your test, as many radiology services need pre-authorization. 

Take Elevator I to the Lower Level. The PET Imaging Center is across the hall from the elevator. 

If you cannot do the prep listed below, you may not be able to have the test or it may need to be rescheduled.

Call the PET Center at 1-319-356-4100 and ask to talk with a nurse if you cannot keep your appointment or have questions.

Getting ready for your test

  • You will have your blood sugar checked when you get to the PET Center. If your blood sugar is about 200, the test will be rescheduled. 
  • If you have a metal trach, change it to plastic before the test.
  • Do not wear jewelry.
  • Do not wear clothing with metal.

Before your test, tell your doctor or nurse if:

  • You are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding.
  • You have diabetes. Your diabetes medicine may need to be changed before the test.
  • You have a fear of closed-in places or if you are very nervous. We can give you a medicine to help you relax. You will need a licensed driver with you before we can give you this medicine.


Do not eat for six hours before the test. You may drink water.

  • If you get food through a tube, stop the tube feeding six hours before the test.
  • If you get nourishment through a vein in your arm, such as a parenteral nutrition (TPN), stop the infusion six hours before the test. 

If you have any other test that day where you are told not to eat or drink for a longer amount of time, follow those instructions.


Take your normal medications with water before your test. Talk to a nurse in the PET Center if you take medicine for diabetes.

What to expect

The test will take 20 to 45 minutes. You may be at the PET Center for two to three hours.

  • During the test, we will give you a small amount of radioactive tracer into your vein through an intravenous catheter (IV). 
  • You will wait 60 minutes in a room before the test.
  • After the test you may:
    • Eat your normal diet
    • Do your normal activity
Last reviewed: 
September 2018

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