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Healthbeat 4: New scanning technology at June E. Nylen Cancer Center

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Sioux City, Iowa (KTIV) -- The medical scanning machine isn't new, but the technology is.

It's going to save some cancer patients time and money, because their PET/CT scan can now be done at the June E. Nylen Cancer Center.

"This machine is important for a lot of different reasons, but what it does is allows us to find cancer in a non-invasive way. We're able to locate cancer from a staging standpoint to see if it's localized or if it has spread to other areas of the body," said Mason Jensen.

Mason Jensen is a Certified Nuclear Medicine Technologist at June E. Nylen Cancer Center in Sioux City.

Jensen says the PET/CT Scan is specialized. It looks for neuroendocrine tumors, which according to the Mayo Clinic, develop in the neuroendocrine cells that secrete hormones in to the body. Those cells help regulate body functions such as growth, reproduction and metabolism.

"Neuroendocrine can pretty much be anywhere throughout your body, mainly in the liver, lungs, sometimes they say the colon as well," said Jensen.

Here's how the new scanner works to find those tumors: An IV is started once the patient comes in. Jensen says after a discussion with the patient, a sterile, diagnostic radioactive dye, which shouldn't cause side effects, is injected into the patient. After an hour, the patient is ready for the scan, which can last anywhere between 30 to 45 minutes.

"So we want to make sure there's no blurry areas. We want to make sure the scans look clean for the radiologist, to make sure the radiologist would get a good scan for our patients," said Jensen.

If there are any neuroendocrine tumors, according to Jensen, they metabolize the radioactivity and show up.

The Cancer Center started using the new technology in December, after its approval in August, and it's eliminating extra travel for patients.

"It's going to make it a lot easier for them to stay in Sioux City to get their scans done because a lot of the time, they've had to go to Omaha or Mayor to do their scan. :09 so it's been important to them financially to stay here and not travel and things like that," said Jensen.

It's an added convenience for patients who are trying to focus on staying as healthy as possible, so they can beat their cancer.

The new scan is FDA-approved, but it's fairly new. Most insurance companies cover it, if it's ordered by a doctor.

Stella Daskalakis

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