The Axumin Scan

What is the Axumin Prostate Cancer Scan?

Axumin is an FDA-approved PET/CT scan used to capture recurrent prostate cancer in men with rising PSA who had prostate cancer treated via surgery or radiation. Unlike CT or bone scans, which require accelerations of PSA levels to 10 – 50 to identify cancer, Axumin can be used in men whose levels are 10 and even well below, for earlier testing and discovery than ever before. Because it is a nuclear scan, Axumin can also determine the exact location of prostate cancer while it is still very tiny, and differentiate between a contained, local recurrence and a more aggressive, systemic recurrence that has metastasized to other areas, assisting in ideal treatment. In men with rising PSA after previous prostate cancer treatment, the test is 100% covered by Medicare. 

The Axumin scan utilizes positron emission tomography with computed tomography, also called PET/CT, a nuclear medicine imaging tool that can pinpoint metabolic activity within the body. This painless, noninvasive test introduces a radiotracer into the body via injection in the arm, where it travels to cancer cells and areas of inflammation for rapid discovery. Because prostate cancers absorb amino acids at an accelerated rate compared to healthy cells, Axumin is able to link its radiotracer to amino acid activity, capturing recurring cancer in the prostate region, as well as other areas of the body where it may have spread. 

Where is Axumin Scanning Offered? 

Radiology Associates of Ocala offers the Axumin Scan at the Medical Imaging Center at Windsor Oaks.

What to Expect 

24 hours before your exam, it is recommended that you relax and avoid all strenuous activities, including running, working out, yard-work and other physical labors. Avoid eating and drinking, including water, gum and mints, 4 hours before your exam. 

Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing, preferably without metal of any kind, such as rivets, zippers, hooks or snaps. If necessary, you will be given a gown to wear instead. 

The Axumin radiotracer will be injected into your arm via an IV. You will be asked to lie still on the exam table for 20 – 30 minutes while the scanner captures images of the area(s) being investigated. The painless scan takes about 40-45 minutes. 

After the exam, you can return to your normal diet and activities. Your doctor will notify you of your results.