Radiation Cancer Detection and Treatment

I was reading some news and there was a feature on Australia’s relative success in the treatment of cancer. The news report cited that Australia has enough radiotherapists, diagnostic equipments and radio therapy equipment.

What sparked my interest was the mention of a special and new cancer diagnostic tool called positron emission tomography (PET) scan. A PET scan helps in the identification of cancer cells in the body. Before the patient is “scanned” inside a bagel shaped “thing” he or she is injected with a sugary substance that has a radioactive substance. Normal cells and tissues in the body absorb just the right amount of glucose (blood sugar). Cancerous cells and tissues absorb more glucose. Since the glucose has the radioactive substance the cancerous cells are more visible in the scan. It is like the cancer “glows” in the dark of normal cells.

This new procedure can identify cancer in its early stages even if there are no obvious signs such as lumps or pain.

I thought this technology is exclusive to one supplier but I was surprised that there are more than three who sell these equipment to hospitals worldwide. Although there are many suppliers of this equipment this tool is not cheap. My best guess is that this equipment may cost more than USD 1,000,000.

Links
a. Positron Emission Tomography Scanner Manufacturers and other Cancer Treatment Systems:
Elekta AB
Varian Medical Systems: Oncology Systems
Philips, Radiation Oncology Systems
Siemens Medical Systems: Nuclear Systems
GE Medical Systems
b. References:
RadiologyInfo

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