Could you please help this charity to raise £1.2million to fund the purchase of a new scanner which will transform the treatment of cancer at Bath’s Royal United Hospital?
For your support I extend grateful thanks.
Chairman of Trustees
What is a PET CT Scan?
Positron Emission Tomography-Computerised Tomography (PET-CT) is a type of scan that is used to guide treatment in some common cancers by helping to work out how widely the cancer has spread throughout the body. This is called staging of the cancer. PET-CT is different to most other scans in that it looks at how the body functions as well as the structure of the body. Normal CT scans just look at the structure of the body. Patients are given a small amount of radioactive sugar which is then distributed around the body. The PET-CT scan shows where the sugar is being used in the body. Cancers tend to use more sugar than normal cells. This allows cancers to be detected earlier, before they have had a chance to grow substantially.
The scans are reported by radiologists (doctors who specialise in reporting scans). The report is used by oncologists (doctors who specialise in treating cancer) to work out which treatment to give the patient. The staging of a number of cancers is more accurate with PET-CT than CT alone. Furthermore, the amount of sugar that the cancer uses can be measured. Once the patient has had treatment the patient is rescanned and amount of sugar use measured again. This change in sugar use happens before the cancer changes in size and permits a more individualized treatment of cancer.
What is the effect of PET CT Scans on Patient Treatments?
Patients who have undergone PET-CT scans have their treatment changed in just over a third of cases based on new information derived from the scan. This change in treatment hopefully means a better outcome for the patient. Currently three times as many PET-CT scans are performed in mainland Europe than in the UK. It is likely, therefore, that the number of scans undertaken in the UK will increase significantly. Access to PET-CT scans has to date been limited in the UK due to financial constraints within the NHS.
What is the benefit to patients of having a PET CT Scanner located at the Royal United Hospital Bath?
Patients from Bath and the surrounding area who need PET-CT scans have to travel to the Cobalt Centre in Cheltenham as that is the location of the nearest scanner. By having a scanner in Bath patients with cancer will not have to undertake such a long journey particularly at such stressful and difficult time in their lives.
The PET-CT scanner will also be used to plan the radiotherapy treatment that is given by the oncologists. The scanner will allow more accurate planning to be undertaken which will hopefully improve patient outcome. The RUH hopes to undertake research in this area in the future. Many cancer patients at the RUH are involved in clinical trials. Trials often require patients to have PET-CT scans to help work out if the new treatment is working. Currently there are some trials for which patients cannot be entered as the RUH does not have a PET-CT scanner. This will of course change in the future.