Florida Cancer Specialists Acquires Siemens “Next Generation” Technology
Early in 2016, Florida Cancer Specialists decided to re-invest in our radiology departments by upgrading ten (10) of our PET/CT Scanners, including both fixed and mobile platforms. This affects over 65% of our total imaging sites of service and covers the majority of the footprint of Florida Cancer Specialists. The new scanners, the Siemens Horizon and the Siemens mCT 20, along with the current Siemens Biograph systems, all have the latest upgraded software making them NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) XR-29 compliant.
Diagnostic imaging provides a visual display of organs or tissues in order for your physician to make treatment decisions. For your convenience we provide Computed Tomography (CT) scans, which use x-rays to create cross-sectional pictures of the body, and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans. PET scans use very low radiation to generate a picture of your body and organs.
A PET scan can show the extent of your disease. For patients whose cancer is newly diagnosed, it is important to determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body so that appropriate treatment can be started. This is called Staging. A PET scan images the entire body, from your head to your toes, in a single appointment. By using PET scans patients can often avoid going through painful, costly, and invasive surgery.
A PET scan can also help physicians monitor the treatment of disease. For example, chemotherapy leads to changes in your cancer; the goal is to stop its growth and to kill the bad cells. A PET scan allows your physician to see these changes in a way that has never before been possible. This is because the radioactive medicine that is used for these scans is mixed with sugar. Your body’s natural tendency is to absorb sugar. As your body absorbs the sugar, it also absorbs the radioactive medicine. If your cancer/tumor is already dead or dying, it will not absorb the sugar and radioactive medicine. This gives physicians an alternative technique to evaluate treatments earlier, perhaps even leading to modifications in treatment.
Another use for PET scans is after your cancer treatment is complete. A PET scan allows the physician to see if your cancer has recurred. PET scans enable your physician to distinguish between the images and shadows that are normal on an x-ray image or CT scan, and to determine whether there are any active (or “alive”) cancer cells, or if there is only dead tissue such as scar tissue. These “normal” shadows and/or scar tissues can be the result of surgery and/or radiation therapy.
Perhaps most importantly, a PET scan puts time on your side. The earlier the diagnosis and the more accurate the assessment of the extent of disease, the better the chance for successful treatment.
PET Scans Are a Vital Part of Cancer Care
The majority of PET scans are performed for
diagnosing, staging and evaluating treatments for cancer care. A PET scan helps the physician distinguish between living and dead tissue or between benign and malignant disorders, unlike other imaging technologies that merely confirm the presence of a mass. PET imaging technology provides the physician with additional information about how your cancer is growing (i.e., whether it is fast or slow growing). At the end of the PET scan, a trained Radiologist can determine if your tumor is malignant or benign, depending on its specific characteristics.
Our mobile PET/CT units will utilize the Siemens mCT 20 scanner, which is a large bore (78cm in diameter), 20 slice PET/CT scanner; that allows us to image patients who are claustrophobic with a degree of ease and comfort. In addition, the 20 slice CT is excellent for oncology practices; providing a faster throughput for our patients having a diagnostic CT exam. Florida Cancer Specialists was the first oncology practice in the Southeast to employ this next generation PET/CT technology on a mobile platform.
During 2016, five of our fixed PET/CT scanners will be upgraded to another state-of-the-art-technology, The Horizon, which “standardizes clinical outcomes with protocol-based exams and automation of manual tasks that leverage PET’s superior image quality and quantitative accuracy to support earlier staging of disease and therapy follow-up.” Our Gladiolus location in Fort Myers, FL was actually the first practice in the United States to utilize The Horizon.
In order to better assist our physicians with vital information needed to treat cancer patients, Florida Cancer Specialists is proud to be able to extend the highest level of diagnostic imaging to the physician-based community and, most importantly, to our patients.