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Video: £4m scanner could save more patients
6:00am Thursday 31st October 2013 in News
MORE people could be saved from cancer in south Essex after Southend Hospital unveiled plans for state-of-the-art equipment.
The hospital, in Prittlewell Chase, wants to house a PETCT scanner in a new building in its grounds, which could identify cancerous cells much quicker than a normal CT scan.
The new scanner and building could eventually be used by up to 12 patients a day.
See what the scanner can do
A mobile scanner is currently used one day a week at Basildon and Colchester Hospitals.
Long-serving Westcliff GP, Dr Marimuthu Velmurugan, said: “Southend Hospital gives an excellent service, even with older equipment, but having this powerful equipment will save lives.
“It will be a great help to doctors who want to help their patients. It will help with earlier diagnosis and intervention and that will save lives.
“There is no doubt about that.”
The new scanner costs between £2million and £4million to buy and £1million to run each year.
Buying it and housing it in the new building could establish an Essex centre for cancer screening.
Perry Hegarty, the trust’s senior project manager, said: “The building will house a PETCT scanner and associated clinical, reception and waiting areas.
“At present, people, mainly cancer patients, have to travel to a range of other NHS sites in order to receive this scan. The closest sites are in Basildon and Colchester where PETCT services are provided one day a week by a mobile scanner.
“The new unit will increase the capacity of PETCT scans in the area and provide a five-day-a-week service."
Former cancer patient Janet Wagstaff, chairman of Southend Beating Bowel Cancer Support Group, said early diagnosis was key to beating cancer.
She said: “As a cancer patient 13 years ago, I know how important it is to have an early diagnosis and support and information to help your recovery.
“Equipment to diagnose cancer even quicker is the most wonderful thing. People are always so frightened when they hear the word cancer and think they are going to die, but it is not always the case.
“With an early diagnosis the survival rate is high.”
The hospital has applied to Southend Council for planning permission to house the new demountable building between the Prittlewell and Cardigan buildings.
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