£16m Scan Centre To Help Patients

A £16m medical centre which will bring the latest in scanning technology closer to patients has been launched. Many patients have to travel as far away as London for a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan which is used for cancer detection and diagnosis.

But from 2008 they will be able to have the scan in the centre in Cardiff. Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust said it would reduce worry and stress faced by patients at a difficult time.

The centre, which will be situated at Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, will have two high-performance scanners which will also be used for research and training purposes.

Positron Emission Tomography is a powerful imaging technique used to identify a range of diseases such as cancers, heart disease, and brain disorders. The scanners are so powerful, they can monitor the functioning of tumours only 2mm in size.

Alyson Llewellyn, 40, from Sully, near Penarth, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma four years ago, had two PET scans in London. “It was a pretty traumatic time, especially when I was told I had to go all the way to London for my first PET scan,” she said. “I was on high doses of chemo, which was making me feel nauseous, so the car journey was horrendous. We left at about six in the morning, and I got home at ten at night. It was a really stressful day,” she added.

The centre is the result of a collaboration between the university and Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust, and will be jointly funded by NHS Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government.

Chair of Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust, Simon Jones, said the centre would allow quicker and effective diagnosis of cancer for patients across south and west Wales. “Over 1300 patients a year from south east Wales alone will benefit from having a PET scanner much closer to their own homes, while the university’s research work will bring numerous benefits to thousands more patients in the future,” he said.

The centre will be officially launched by Health Minister Dr Brian Gibbons and Enterprise Minister Andrew Davies.

Dr Gibbons said: “We already have a wealth of clinical knowledge and experience in Wales and such a centre will help increase this. We are committed to developing new treatments and providing modern equipment and this PET Centre will help Wales to achieve that goal,” he added.