Major fillip for cancer treatment

Cancer treatment resources in the South are set to receive a major boost, after Pacific Radiology confirmed plans yesterday to open a new clinic in Dunedin.

The facility would be designed to meet the requirements for a new positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) scanner, the firm’s Otago-Southland managing radiologist, Dr Greg Harkness, said.

At present, southern patients who need a PET scan have to travel to Christchurch for the procedure.

"We have specifically chosen a centralised site with ample parking space, providing easy access to essential advanced imaging radiology services for local patients and those travelling from across the Otago and Southland regions," Dr Harkness said.

The site for the new clinic, Pacific Radiology’s fifth in Dunedin and 13th in Otago-Southland, could not be released yet due to commercial sensitivity, he said.,

However, he expected that it would be fully operational at the end of next year.

A PET/CT machine uses nuclear medicine to diagnose, evaluate, and treat various diseases, most notably cancers.

Pacific Radiology expected the new machine would be able to perform more than 2000 PET/CT scans a year.

"Pacific Radiology will be training new staff to provide the service as required at the new branch," Dr Harkness said.

"Some of our scanning technology will transfer from other Dunedin locations, which will be determined once site location is finalised."

Dunedin oncologist Dr Chris Jackson said the new scanner would be an important tool to treat and manage lung cancer, melanoma, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.

"People affected by cancer frequently find travel very difficult because of the impact of their illness, so having this close to home is a great development and one that is welcomed for the people of the South," Dr Jackson said.

"The new service will ease the burden felt by many as they go through their diagnosis, investigations or management for cancer."

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