New technology at Witham offers improved cancer diagnosis and treatment

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Witham Memorial Hospital will offer patients a powerful new diagnostic imaging system known as positron emission tomography/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 and CT scans performed separately to identify and locate tumors,” said Jason Scott, 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,” said Dr. Raymond Ingham, CEO and president of Witham Health Services.

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,” said Dr. Robert Liebross, 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.

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