New PET/CT Scanner Delivers Greater Peace of Mind

Digital Capabilities of Technology Enhances Diagnostic Ability at ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center

A new state-of-the-art PET/CT scanner at ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center is improving patient diagnostics, helping to catch malignant tumors earlier and reaching more patients when timing counts the most.

“Because of the fully digital capabilities, it allows us to dramatically improve scanning speed,” said Mark Thiel, vice president of professional services for ThedaCare. “That’s important for patient comfort as the scans can be shorter and because it allows us to see patients on a timely basis, ensuring a quicker diagnosis.”

PET/CT scans (Positron Emission Tomography and Computed Tomography) use x-rays and an injected radioactive isotope to create a picture of the body’s organs and find any abnormal activity, such as lesions and tumors. The new digital PET/CT scanner reduces the amount of radiation needed to make an accurate diagnosis.

“The equipment is more sensitive and allows us to not only see the tumors with less radiation, but it also allows us to see smaller tumors, giving us the ability to diagnose cancers earlier,” Thiel said.

The new PET/CT scanner is the only one like it the nation. Bringing the new scanner to the local center has been a goal for the past two years. “Our oncologist and radiologist saw this technology and felt it would be important to delivering the excellent patient care we promised to the community,” Thiel said.

The new PET/CT scanner helps determine to what degree a tumor has spread “as accurately as modern technology will allow it,” said Nathan Munson, MD, radiation oncologist. “This diagnostic tool will help clarify from the beginning what treatment options would best meet the needs of individual patients.”

Earlier diagnosis can help providers deliver the right treatment at the right time, and will enhance the peace of mind to patients and their families, improving emotional health during the challenging time of a cancer diagnosis, Thiel said.

For more than 100 years, ThedaCare™ has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast Wisconsin. The organization serves over 200,000 patients annually and employs more than 6,800 healthcare professionals throughout the region. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose, as well as 32 clinics in nine counties and the ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center in Appleton. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.  For more information, visit www.thedacare.org or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter