PET / CT Scanner Opening May 24, 2010

PET / CT Opening

New scanning centre advances the fight against cancer.

A centre opened this morning (24 May 2010) by the Governor General Hon Sir Anand Satyanand promises to advance the fight against cancer, streamline patient care and, in many cases, reduce individual healthcare costs.  
The PET/CT (Positron Emission Tomography) scanner at Southern Cross Radiology in Christchurch will benefit patients with various cancers, particularly lymphoma, lung, bowel, oesophageal, breast and melanoma.

PET/CT examines the cellular make-up of the human body to provide a more complete picture for diagnosing illness, determining the extent of disease, prescribing treatment and tracking progress. 

The PET scanner demonstrates the biological function of the body to highlight where cancer exists, while an associated CT scan measures changes in size, shape and location of that cancer. As a result, radiologists and clinicians can be more certain where cancer is - and where it isn't - leading to more effective treatment for those with curable conditions.

From a health service perspective the PET/CT scanner will also more effectively identify conditions that are incurable, ensuring procedures with little prospect of a positive effect are avoided.

“Avoiding expensive surgery and therapy where it has little or no benefit is good for all involved – the patient, their family and the health funder,” says Christchurch Radiology Group radiologist, Dr Jeremy Sharr.

The PET/CT scanner is the most advanced in Australasia and is housed in a purpose-built wing of Southern Cross Hospital in Bealey Avenue. 

The technology relies on the fact that cancer cells take up more glucose for "food" than normal cells.

A glucose-like substance that is labelled with a specific fluorine isotope is injected intravenously.  The scanner is able to accurately detect the location of the substance in the body, and therefore where more glucose is being used, and hence the location and density of cancer cells.