Saturday October 16, 2021

Recent advances in early detection of cancer highlighted

September 12, 2021

A public awareness programme was held on Saturday at the Neurospinal & Cancer Care Institute in collaboration with M. Hashim Memorial Trust, in which recent advances in the early detection of cancer were discussed.

An eminent neurosurgeon and chairman and managing director of the NCCI and MHMT, Prof Abdul Sattar M Hashim, highlighted the role of advanced 64 Slice PET-CT Scanner in the early diagnosis of a variety of cancers.

He quoted a reference that each year in the United States approximately 12 million adults who seek outpatient medical care are misdiagnosed, according to a new study published in renowned British Medical Journal, BMJ Quality & Safety.

This figure amounts to one out of 20 adult patients, and researchers say in half of those cases the misdiagnosis has the potential to result in severe harm, the BMJ Quality and Safety journal further estimates that 28 per cent of cancer cases are misdiagnosed.

Prof Abdul Sattar further highlighted that the prestigious Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that 26 per cent of cases were misdiagnosed, while, according to The Journal of Clinical Oncology, up to a startling 44 per cent of some types of cancer were misdiagnosed.

He asked to the audience if they could imagine the situation in a country like Pakistan which was far behind as compared to the USA and other Western countries in the healthcare system and the amazing modality like the PET-CT Scanner was still scanty in Pakistan. This situation, he said, was horribly alarming. “Misdiagnosis means needless suffering and hundreds of thousands of rupees wasted each year.”

“Advanced 64 Slice PET-CT would be an ideal choice to evaluate brain abnormalities, such as brain tumors, memory disorders including Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, and other central nervous system disorders, and it can screen for spinal metastases and help distinguish between malignant and benign bone lesions,” Prof Abdul Sattar further elaborated.

Renowned nuclear medicine professor Dr Shahid Kamal, who is former director KIRAN and JPMC and director nuclear medicine and molecular imaging at the NCCI, said that there are deadliest cancers like head and neck, breast, liver, lung, gynecologic, prostate, pancreatic, colorectal and lymphomas most frequently identified across the Pakistan, and PET-CT Scan has been suggested as a gold standard diagnostic modality to detect cancer at an early stage, determine whether a cancer has spread through the body, assess the effectiveness of a treatment plan and can help to determine if a cancer has returned after treatment.

“PET-CT scans provide significantly more information than CT scans, and are far more reliable when diagnosing cancer. The reality is that you cannot rely on a CT scan (or ultrasound, MRI, or blood test) to tell you if you have cancer,” Prof Shahid Kamal added.

M. Moinuddin Iqbal, director technical operations at the NCCI & PET-CT Department, concluded the session and thanked the speakers and the audience.

He summarised the session by saying that better tumor delineation now possible meant more enhanced and improved volumetric resolution of smallest lesions. Moreover, he said, PET-CT Scanner could deliver high-quality PET-CT images for large obese patients.

He said that the NCCI is the pioneer in introducing the first-ever 64 slice PET-CT Scan with Cyclotron, the complete facility under one roof in Pakistan, which provides earlier cancer diagnosis – head to toe (whole body) -- with superior information of determining tissue characterisations and classifications, staging of cancer, restating of cancers, patient prognosis and monitoring the effectiveness of cancer therapies.

The institute is also playing a leadership role towards the community, facilitating other institutes in providing the FDG (Fluorodeoxyglucose) radiopharmaceutical required for PET scan.