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New PET/CT Scan Technology at Witham Offers Improved Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment - Archived
Witham Memorial Hospital will offer patients a powerful new diagnostic imaging system known as PET/CT. This hybrid technology combines the strengths of two well-established imaging modalities in one imaging session to more accurately diagnose and locate cancers while increasing patient comfort.

“Before PET/CT, physicians would overlay the results of a PET (positron emission tomography) and CT scans performed separately to identify and locate tumors,” said Jason Scott, MBA CRA RT(R)(MR), Director of Imaging/Cardiac Diagnostics/Pulmonary/Neurodiagnostics at Witham. “However because a patient may not be positioned identically for both scans, the two images can be difficult to line up exactly, degrading the accuracy of the diagnostic information.”

The combined PET/CT machine allows physicians to rapidly perform both scans in one session without having to move a patient, which means a physician can precisely overlay the metabolic data of the PET scan and the detailed anatomic data of the CT scan to pinpoint the location and stage of tumors.

“Witham is proud to bring PET/CT technology to our community with the cooperation of Shared Medical Services. Together, we are now able to offer this advanced imaging technology locally, eliminating the need for patients to travel far distances to receive quality care,” says Raymond Ingham, PhD, CEO and president of Witham Health Services. “This is just another example of patient-focused healthcare in our own community.”

Along with providing better imaging data, it notably increases patient comfort and convenience by reducing the number of scanning sessions a patient must undergo. It is also noninvasive, painless and takes only about 30 minutes.

“The scanner is a one-two punch of technology that provides great sensitivity and can help us improve patient outcomes,” says Robert Liebross, M.D., radiation oncologist at The Cancer Institute at Witham.

While PET/CT is primarily used in cancer treatment, it also has applications in cardiology and brain imaging, and it will help Witham physicians better understand the workings of heart disease and such neurological disorders as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.

Approximately 7.4 million Americans have a history of cancer, and 1.3 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed this year. The most dangerous aspect of cancer is how it spreads throughout the organ systems of the body. PET/CT can effective pinpoint the source of many of the most common cancers, heart and neurological diseases, reducing the need for redundant tests and diagnostic surgical procedures.