Mercy Medical Center Adds Full-time PET-CT Services

SPRINGFIELD — Mercy Medical Center has added a fixed unit for PET-CT imaging technology, making Western Mass. PET-CT Imaging the only full-time in-house provider of this advanced diagnostic testing service in the region.

PET-CT imaging utilizes the latest technology in detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer and neurological disease. Mercy Medical Center began offering PET-CT imaging last year with a mobile unit, in a joint venture with Alliance Imaging Inc.

PET-CT combines two separate imaging tools, position emission tomography (PET) and computerized tomography (CT), to collect both anatomical and biological information during a single exam.

The test provides physicians with access to the most complete and accurate information on disease location and metabolism, while providing patients with a better chance of a positive outcome and the ability to avoid unnecessary procedures.

“Mercy Medical Center is committed to delivering outstanding health care through the use of cutting-edge technology. Our new center for PET-CT imaging allows us to increase the availability of this diagnostic test, and thereby reduce the length of time patients must wait for an appointment,” said Dr. James E. Fanale, COO of Mercy Medical Center. “With PET-CT imaging, doctors are able to detect diseases earlier and monitor the treatment of those diseases more accurately.”

Before having a scan, patients receive a dose of a “tracer,” which mimics substances found naturally in the body, such as water, sugars, and proteins. These tracers accumulate in diseased cells, and are detected by the PET-CT system during the scan.

An image of the patient is then created, highlighting any abnormal physiology. This image helps physicians determine if any disease is present, as well as the location and extent of the disease, and allows them to track how quickly the disease is spreading.

The PET-CT exam is painless and safe, and is generally conducted in less than 30 minutes.

“At Mercy Medical Center, we strive to provide patients with the best available care close to home, and PET-CT imaging represents the gold standard in cancer care for the foreseeable future,” said Dr. Jayson St Jacques, chief of PET-CT Imaging at the hospital.

“By opening this fixed unit at Western Mass. PET-CT Imaging, we can increase access to this amazing technology and offer this test to more local patients who are battling cancer.”