They’re considered a vital tool in diagnosing cancer and deciding how to treat it.
But in Ontario, cancer patients don’t have access to PET scanners — imaging technology around for almost 30 years but still considered experimental in this province. “If I was a cancer patient, I would definitely scream for this technology that will let you know if you’re a candidate for surgery, whether to remove your tumour, whether you need surgery plus radiation or if you need chemotherapy,” said Dr. Jean-Luc Urbain, citywide chief of nuclear medicine in London.
Urbain is welcoming a call by Conservative health critic Elizabeth Witmer, who plans to introduce a resolution at Queen’s Park calling on the government to make PET scans available to Ontarians.
“PET scans are available to patients pretty well throughout the world — in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the United States and other provinces in Canada,” Witmer said in a phone interview. “But here in Ontario, if your doctor recommends a PET scan, you are forced to travel to the United States at your own expense.”