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Cancer scanner boost for hospital

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http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/ci ... 1ff1b1.lpf

HOSPITALS have joined together to give cancer patients from across the region access to a groundbreaking scanner.

The £1.5 million scanner is available at the BUPA Cambridge Lea Hospital in Impington every fortnight, enabling clinicians to look at cancer in a more precise way.

It is the only one in East Anglia and is one of just a handful of the revolutionary PET/CT machines in the country.

And it is not only benefiting private patients, as NHS patients from Papworth Hospital and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital are also using it.

Until this month, patients had to travel to London to experience the cutting-edge technology that can look at both their anatomy and processes going on inside their cells.

Dr Richard Coulden, a consultant in radiology and nuclear medicine at Papworth, said: "The Government has made it very clear that it wants these scanners across the country and we are very lucky that we are right at the forefront of that.

"PET/CT is the latest imaging technique in oncology and it will greatly benefit our cancer patients.

"I am looking forward to diagnosing and treating cancer with much more information and, consequently, more confidence."

CT (Computed Tomography) provides detailed anatomical information to pinpoint the exact location of a cancer, and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) gives information about the activity of cancer cells so the spread and size of the disease can be assessed.

Using both processes means there can be an earlier diagnosis of cancer, a better evaluation of treatments and in some cases, patients could avoid surgery.

It is predominantly used for lung cancer, lymphoma and gut tumours but can be used for other cancers too.

There are only six permanent PET/CT scanners in the UK and it would cost a hospital around £4 million to introduce one.

But the mobile service, provided by Alliance Medical Ltd, enables the scanner to travel to different parts of the country each day and it is hoped it will soon be able to visit BUPA Cambridge Lea once a week.

Phillip Jones, the hospital's clinical support services manager, said: "We are very excited to be offering the first PET/CT service in the area.

It will have important benefits for both NHS and private patients and continues our local trend for joint initiatives."

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