Our Maine Street's Aroostook Issue 29 : Summer 2016 - Page 34

TAMC Brings Powerful Tool in Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment to Aroostook County TAMC officials announced the exciting news last December that the Presque Isle medical center was taking the next step in cancer care for northern Maine by committing $1.5 million to bring PET scan technology to the region. That promise became a reality when the first patients in Aroostook County received a PET/ CT scan locally beginning in mid-June. A PET (positron emission tomography) scan is a nuclear test that shows a person’s physiology, looking at the biological behavior of lesions or abnormalities. While a CT (computerized tomography) scan is an anatomical test, showing where in the body the tumor is, the PET scan is more of a functional test, showing how things are working. The new PET/CT scanner at TAMC performs both of these tests in one patient sitting and merges the scans together for the best view possible. While there are other uses for a PET scan, it is primarily used for tumor detection and staging, which is the evaluation of the effectiveness of treatment. PET/CT scans are used in some form or other in guiding therapy for common cancers, according to Dr. Arjun Sood, the lead medical oncologist at TAMC’s Aroostook Cancer Care. 32 SUMMER 2016 “This is a powerful tool in the cancer treatment process,” said Sood. “PET/CT scans are incorporated in diagnosis, staging, prognosis determination and response assessment. Increasingly, they are incorporated in treatment planning for newer modalities of radiation therapy.” Statistics show that approximately 300 County patients have traveled annually to Bangor to have a PET scan. Others who would benefit from this kind of test opt for a different imaging procedure that is less effective for their needs because they cannot make the trip, according Randy Bacon, director of ancillary services at TAMC. “This will mean earlier detection, more accurate detection and better continuity of treatment.” ~Randy Bacon “Having this technology locally provides convenience for patients and opens up this higher level of care to those who could not access it before. This will mean earlier detection, more accurate detection and better continuity