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At the age of 29, only four months after giving

birth to her second child, Mistie Davis, a nurse from Heber, Utah, was diag- nosed with cancer—a tumor in her lung. On the referral of her pulmo- nologist in Utah County, Mistie sought treatment

at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI).

The Molecular Imaging Program team includes radiochemists, a radiopharmacist, a research associate, and engineers/operators of the cyclotron, a machine used to manufacture imaging agents for positron emission tomography (PET).

“With PET/CT imaging, we’re able not only to improve staging and characterization of cancer, but also assess patient response to therapies more accurately and earlier than with other types of imaging,” Hoffman says. “As scientists gain a better understanding of the fundamental molecular nature of disease, molecular imaging will assume an ever more impor- tant role in furthering our understanding of human disease, monitoring therapy, and caring for patients in the future.”

“A PET scan showed exactly where the cancer was and also that that’s allthere was,” Mistie says, indicating that her cancer had not spread. HCI physician and professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Utah, Shreekanth Karwande, MD, performed surgery. It was all the treatment Mistie needed, without radiation or chemotherapy to follow. She currently receives chest X-rays every three months and will likely have X-rays as follow-up for the rest of her life. It’s a small undertaking, and one Mistie is glad for—she lost her own father to cancer when he was only 27 years old.

“Other than being a little short of breath, I’m functioning really well now,” she says. “I was one of the lucky ones.”


Call it luck, fate, or chance, Mistie says, “I’ve been very blessed. I’m able to take care of my kids.”

2006 Annual Report 7

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