Windsor Regional Hospital is getting a PET/CT scanner this spring.

WRH President and CEO David Musyj said the multi-million dollar machine means hundreds of patients in Windsor and Essex County requiring PET/CT scans to diagnose medical conditions will no longer have to travel hundreds of kilometers to hospitals in London, Hamilton, Mississauga and elsewhere.

The arrival of the PET/CT scans, long the standard for helping diagnose cancers, will support some 600 patients a year in the Windsor-Essex region and beyond.

The machinery will be installed inside a small addition to be constructed adjacent to the Cancer Centre on the south side of Met Campus.

The goal is for the PET/CT scan access for patients to begin in late April or early May 2019.

“Timely access to PET/CT diagnostic imaging is crucial in ensuring decision making and subsequent patient care plans are not delayed,” said Monica Staley Liang, regional vice president, cancer services, renal, patient relations and legal affairs. “The absence of a reliable PET/CT scanner in Windsor-Essex forced large volumes of patients to travel significant distances to obtain these diagnostic images.”

Construction of a unit to house the scanner will begin shortly. Although initial estimates and plans were to open the PET/CT suite in late 2018, construction cost estimates required WRH to reassess options and land on a positive yet less costly solution to accommodate the scanner on an interim basis at a land-locked campus.

It will be situated in a location that will allow it to be transferred to a new hospital.

“After a thorough review, we are pleased that we have been able to accommodate a new scanner until the new hospital is constructed,” said Musyj.“We greatly appreciate the ongoing support of the Government of Ontario and Cancer Care Ontario in helping us make this vision a reality.”

In the meantime, patients that have to travel for a PET/CT are being supported through the generosity of the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation.

A PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scan is a nuclear medicine imaging test that uses a form of radioactive sugar to create 3D colour images to show how a body’s cells are working. A CT (Computed Tomography) scan uses special X-ray equipment to produce multiple images or pictures of the inside of a body, which can then be interpreted by a radiologist on a computer monitor.