The Montefiore Hospital in Hove has announced the launch of a new service in the fight against cancer and other serious medical conditions.
A state-of-the-art PET-CT scanner (which stands for Positron Emission Tomography-Computerised Tomography) will arrive at the hospital on Wednesday, November 4, and return every fortnight. The Montefiore will be the only private hospital in the south east to have this service.
PET-CT is especially effective in diagnosing and assessing the spread of tumours as well as assessing response following treatment. It has been shown to be very effective in many different tumour sites including lung, colon, oesophageal, prostate, head and neck cancers and lymphomas. It combines the use of CT technology with an injection of a `PET tracer’ to produce highly informative three-dimensional images of the tumour in the body.
“The PET-CT scanner will improve the quality of care we can give cancer patients and it has been shown to improve survival rates,” said The Montefiore’s consultant radiologist Dr Nigel Marchbank. “Despite major advances in imaging using CT and MRI in the last 30 years, some tumours have been difficult to detect and assess for spread at the time of diagnosis. PET-CT has been shown to improve detection and staging of many types of cancer. In addition to helping with the diagnosis of cancer, the scanner monitors activity at a molecular level, and so the scans can be used to accurately assess how the tumour is responding to treatment.”
As well as being used in cancer, the PET-CT scanner can also be used to assess other diseases such as polymyalgia rheumatica, vasculitis, sarcoidosis, retroperitoneal fibrosis, pyrexia of unknown origin and dementia.
Patients will be referred for a PET- CT scan by their consultant. The scan takes on average 40 minutes and is a safe, painless technique. Patients will be advised to wear comfortable, loose clothing with minimal metal fastenings such as zips and press studs, and to remove all jewellery. The results of the scan will be ready within 48 hours and be forwarded directly to the patient’s consultant.
“We strive to continually improve our services and the arrival of the PET-CT scanner is a huge advancement in our diagnostic technology,” says Peter Harris, the hospital’s managing director. “Most importantly, it will give patients and their consultants answers to conditions that have been, in the past, difficult to diagnose and this will lead to improvements in the quality of care for patients.”
Ralph Toop, head of PET-CT at InHealth, said: “It is with great pleasure that we are delivering the best quality of care with state-of-the art technology to The Montefiore Hospital. This new partnership will deliver essential diagnostic services to complement other local cancer services and most importantly, bring care closer to patient’s homes.
“The InHealth mobile PET-CT scanner uses a Siemens system and is a very powerful imaging tool available to cancer clinicians in making critical decisions regarding patient treatment and management of pathways. This new service means that patients avoid additional travel during an intensely difficult moment in their lives. By increasing PET provision across the south-east, we are ensuring faster access to this vital technology and the self-contained unit will allow the service to remain operational and flexible, and meet the new challenges the country is currently facing.”