Oncology experts are constantly trying to find the best way to treat cancer, because the disease is so deadly that it takes countless lives around the globe every day. Now some experts say they have a scan that could help.
BBC news reports on a new technique. Experts have come up with a cancer scan, which they say will be extremely important in treating cancer.
A new study shows that utilizing a scanner rather than a scalpel could spare hundreds of thousands of cancer patients from dangerous surgeries.
Standard procedure requires that head and neck tumors, which are treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, need an operation to visually assess whether the growth has gone; but experts are saying they might be able to do away with this invasiveness.
The surgery takes three hours; then patients spend a week in the hospital recovering. “It also risks complications, including disfigurement or movement problems in the arms if key nerves are damaged,” according to the BBC.
The study was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It was conducted on almost six hundred participants. The results showed that around 80% of them could be spared from going through the surgery. The analysis also shows that the survival rates would remain the same.
How would the scan work?
The BBC explains, “Positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) uses a radioactive dye that is picked up by rapidly dividing cancer cells.” This procedure lets physicians see if any of the cancer that was in the head or neck cancer is still active.
The University of Birmingham and the University of Warwick conducted the study. Experts were intrigued to find that the survival rates stayed the same regardless of whether the patient had surgery or the scan.
Professor Hisham Mehanna, from the University of Birmingham, commented on the study. He said, “Cancerous cells hide among the dead cells, with PET-CT you can call them out and find out whether they're alive or not.” Professor Mehanna said that physicians could utilize this new technology to save patients having a debilitating operation and find those that need the operation instead of giving it to everybody.
Experts are saying that not only will the scan reduce recovery time but also it will be much more economical. Professor Mehanna is saying that the scan could save hundreds of thousands of people around the world every year.
Professor Arnie Purushotham, from Cancer Research UK, commented on the study. He said, “This is a really important study and if long-term follow-up confirms these results, this imaging technique could mean kinder treatments for patients with head and neck cancer.” He said this might also be able to be expanded to other types of cancer.