New scanner enables more than 1,000 cancer patients to have scans closer to home

Over the last year more than a thousand cancer patients from across Lincolnshire have been able to have their PET-CT scans at Lincoln County Hospital instead of having to embark on an 80 mile round trip to Nottingham.

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PET-CT scans are one of the most powerful imaging tools available to clinicians today. Using these detailed scans, clinicians are not only able to diagnose cancers, but can also see if the tumours have spread and monitor the stage and progression of the cancer.

The new mobile scanner first started visiting the hospital last July and since then 1,120 patients from across Lincolnshire have been referred here for their scans.

Clinical Director Professor Ciro Rinaldi from United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) said: “PET-CT scan images are very detailed, clear and are a vital tool in both the diagnosis of some cancers and they also enable us to monitor how treatments are going and whether or not we need to change our approach.”

Understanding the difference the mobile scanner would make to cancer patients in the county was a massive driving force in the Trust working with NHS England and Alliance Medical to make sure it could come to Lincoln. Building work had to be undertaken to make sure there was a suitable location for the scanner and its waiting room, which come to the site on two large lorries.

Consultant Physicist and ULHT Head of Nuclear Medicine Laura White added: “Having the mobile scanner in Lincoln has made a huge difference to our patients. We have worked closely with Alliance Medical to ensure that the patient’s experience is as good as is can be and the feedback has been really positive.

“Over this first year we have exceeded our expectations. Originally the scanner visited the hospital one day a week and due to demand this has now doubled with an occasional third session if there is the need. Thanks to this partnership 1,120 patients from Lincolnshire have been spared the inconvenience of having to travel to Nottingham.”

One patient said: “I am undergoing chemotherapy and it was important to be able to stage my cancer. This was my first PET-CT scan and being able to come to Lincoln made a massive difference.

“I know after my treatments I often feel drained and too tired to drive, especially long distances. It is much easier for me to arrange transport to Lincoln than out of the county.

“Going to an unfamiliar place, a big city can be stressful on top of everything else. It is so much nicer to come to somewhere you know.”