FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WakeMed and Wake Radiology Open
Wake County’s First State-of-the-Art Outpatient
CARY, NC (December 3, 2008) – WakeMed Health & Hospitals and Wake Radiology today announce the opening of a new PET·CT scanner. This integrated unit will enable patients to receive a PET scan and contrast CT scan in combination, replacing multiple imaging tests with just one patient visit, resulting in a detailed study. This diagnostic option was not previously available in Wake County.
Holly Burge, MD, director, PET·CT services, Wake Radiology explained that “By using the combined technology, we can identify cancerous cells in many cases at an earlier stage than more traditional modalities such as CT alone or MRI. Additionally, patients in Wake County often have to travel out of the county or wait for a PET-CT scan appointment. Understandably, this wait greatly increases anxiety when faced with a potentially life-changing cancer diagnosis. This new scanner will significantly expand capacity for patients.”
Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Computerized Tomography (CT) work together to more accurately pinpoint the location of cancer within the body. CT provides anatomical detail such as the size and location of a tumor or mass, while PET shows the actual cellular activity within the body. The images from the PET and CT are overlaid so that physicians can precisely locate areas of interest and determine if a cancerous process is occurring.
The combined scanner is used to detect tumors including those in the breast, esophagus, cervix, head and neck, ovaries, lungs and colon, and in diagnosing and staging of melanoma and lymphoma. Additionally, some centers are using the technology to assess myocardial viability, so the new Wake County scanner may have even broader clinical applications in the long term.
The PET·CT scanner facilitates more precise treatment and planning for patients undergoing radiation therapy. Periodic scans offer physicians the ability to assess patient progress while they are undergoing therapy. As a result, radiologists are able to more closely target affected tissue without delivering radiation to unaffected nearby tissue. This greater precision in treatment can reduce the unnecessary exposure and long-term complications of radiation therapy.
Medical Oncologist Mark L. Graham, MD,of Waverly Hematology Oncology in Cary, welcomes the PET·CT modality as a vital advance. “For this joint PET·CT project, Wake Radiology and WakeMed have invested significant resources. And, the combined technologies and web-based image viewing systems represent the biggest advancement in the area of imaging quality during my nine years of practice in the region. The result will be improved care for our cancer patients.”
“WakeMed and Wake Radiology have a long history of providing state-of-the-art imaging services to patients, and this PET·CT joint venture represents a significant new resource for Wake County patients,” commented Stan Taylor, vice president corporate planning and managed care, WakeMed. “We are very pleased to be able to reduce anxiety for patients by doing what we do best – providing convenient and accessible services centered on the patient’s needs.”
WakeMed and Wake Radiology share ownership of the Siemens Biograph 6-slice TruePoint PET·CT, a scanner that can be used with or without contrast. It is part of Wake Radiology’s outpatient center in Cary that is in close proximity to WakeMed Cary Hospital and adjacent to Wake Radiology Oncology Services at 300 Ashville Avenue. Appointments and referrals can be made by calling WR Express Scheduling at 919-232-4700.
About WakeMed Health & Hospitals
WakeMed Health & Hospitals, one of the first hospital systems in the country, is a private, not-for-profit health care organization based in Raleigh, N.C. The 870-bed system comprises a network of health care facilities throughout Wake and Johnston Counties, including: a Level I Trauma Center and tertiary referral hospital and rehabilitation hospital in Raleigh, a community hospital in Cary, two comprehensive outpatient centers and freestanding emergency departments in North Raleigh and Apex, seven outpatient rehabilitation sites, two skilled-nursing and outpatient facilities, a 100+-physician multispecialty practice, and home health services. The system includes two accredited Chest Pain Centers and four Joint Commission-certified Stroke Centers. WakeMed also provides management services for Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital in Dunn, NC. Centers of excellence include cardiac and vascular care, women’s and children’s services, physical rehab, emergency and trauma, orthopaedics, neurosciences, home care and numerous wellness and community outreach programs. WakeMed’s team of 7,000 nurses, technologists and medical support staff and more than 1,000 affiliated physicians serve the residents of North Carolina using the most advanced technologies and facilities to ensure the finest in health care.