Canadian nuc med group calls for broader PET use

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The Ontario Association of Nuclear Medicine (OANM) is calling on the Ontario government to fund PET scans in the province--in order to reduce dependency on other nuclear medicine exams which require isotopes that are in short supply.

"Full public funding for PET technology is needed now to help alleviate physician and patient concerns over access to important diagnostic tests," said Christopher O'Brien, MD, OANM's president. "It is critical that the Ontario government provide the investment necessary to ensure that PET technology can be maximized to help resolve the long-term crisis of insufficient isotope supply."

The OANM recommended the province take the following actions:

  • Work in conjunction with the OANM to establish new PET centers in Ontario, so as to approach the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Studies (ICES) recommendation for patient access, address patients' needs based on regional diagnostic wait times and geographic requirements.
  • Publically fund PET at 1,000 patients per year at the existing clinical trial PET centers in Ontario: approximately 9,000 patients per year.
  • Make PET scans available in both hospitals and independent healthcare facilities as a nuclear medicine procedure.
  • Adopt the Canadian Association of Nuclear Medicine guidelines concerning training requirements to supervise and interpret PET so as to ensure high-quality standards for Ontario patients.

The OANM said that use of PET has been proven to improve patient management by clarifying diagnosis in approximately one third of all patients. The U.S. PET Registry Program demonstrated that a full 75 percent of planned biopsies were avoided by PET scans and 36.5 percent of patients had their treatments improved, according to a study published online March 24 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Presently, the Quebec province funds PET for approximately 21,000 patients, OANM said.