Kidwai doesn’t have crucial PET-CT scanner to detect cancer 

By Bala Chauhan| Express News Service | Published: 06th December 2021 05:54 AM
Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology on Dr M H Marigowda Road (Photo | EPS)*

BENGALURU: Bengaluru, touted as an international hub of medical tourism, may have the best facilities and treatment for the rich but lacks basic testing equipment for life threatening diseases like cancer in its lone specialty government hospital.In a shocking discovery, TNIE has learnt that Karnataka’s only government institute of cancer, Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, has been treating cancer patients from across the state and outside, without the basic PET-CT scan machine, which is a must for early detection, line and response to cancer treatment. 

A Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan is an imaging test that helps reveal the metabolic or biochemical function of tissues and organs. It uses a radioactive drug (tracer) to show both normal and abnormal metabolic activity. “PET-CT scan gives crucial functional and structural information about any abnormality in the body. The response to the treatment can be seen in 48 hours, which other imaging modalities like MRI cannot give. PET-CT scans have changed the diagnosis and management of treatment of not only cancer but other life-threatening illnesses like cardiac conditions (viability), prolonged, unknown fever, dementia etc by 50 per cent,” said Dr RV Parameswaran, consultant, Nuclear Medicine, Manipal Hospital, Old Airport Road. “In an oncology setup, it’s paramount to have a PET-CT scanner. By using it judiciously, we can give the best treatment to patients.” 

Dr Ramachandra, Director, Kidwai, agreed that the institute does not have a PET-CT scanner and has been using other imaging modalities like Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), ultrasound and Computed Tomography (CT) scans to detect and treat cancer. “We are in the process of acquiring a PET-CT scanner soon on a public-private partnership model. The proposal has been cleared by the State Level Single Window Clearance Committee (SLSWCC) and expression of interest would be drawn soon,” he said. 

He added that work on the new building, which would also house the imaging, diagnostic and nuclear medicine centre has recently been inaugurated by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai. “Civil work in the new building is ready. It was delayed due to the pandemic. We are initiating the tendering process soon and hopefully, we should get the PET-CT scanner in a couple of months,” added the director. “Around 30 to 40 per cent of patients come to the hospital when in stage three and four of cancer. Early detection is the key to cancer treatment; 95 per cent of patients are cured if cancer is detected early,” added Dr Ramachandra. 

A PET-CT scan ranges between Rs 25,000 and Rs 40,000 in private hospitals. In the absence of the scanner at Kidwai, many patients who come to the government hospital, find it impossible to afford the test. Three multinational giants -- GE Healthcare, Siemens Medical Devices and Philips -- manufacture PET-CT imaging machines and the cost of the scanner is in the Rs 7-8 crore range. Kidwai Institute sees around 50 cancer patients on a daily basis in the state. With only one doctor in the nuclear medicine section, it is a huge challenge to cater to desperate patients, who see Kidwai as the last ray of hope amid gnawing malignancy. 

Tags : Bengaluru Kidwai Memorial Institute

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