A Prostascint scan uses radioactively tagged antibodies that are designed to travel all around the body and attach themselves to prostate cancer cells. If prostate cancer cells have invaded lymph nodes in the pelvis or elsewhere in the body, then the antibodies typically will find them and bind to them. The location of the antibodies can be detected by the scanning machine.
The Prostascint scan is a relatively new addition to the numerous tests that can be used to detect the spread of prostate cancer to other parts of the body.
The Prostascint scan is a two step test spanning 3 - 4 days.
On the first day, you will go to the hospital to receive an injection into your vein of the radioactively tagged antibodies. Three or four days later, you will be asked to return to the hospital for the imaging portion of the test. The night before this portion of the exam, you will likely be asked to take laxative or use an enema to cleanse your bowel and make the test easier to interpret.
To be imaged, you will be situated next to the gamma camera (which is a very large machine) for about 45 minutes.
During this period, a small sample of blood will be taken, mixed with more radioactively tagged antibodies, and then re-injected into your body. You will then move to another, different camera for a final hour of imaging.
The whole process on the second day at the hospital will take about two hours.
A fair percentage of patients also will need to return the next day for additional imaging.