|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 29, 2003
Congressman Towns and Kings County Hospital Center Unveil Brooklyn's First PET Scanner
Breakthrough Technology for Detecting Cancer Early
Brooklyn, N.Y. - Kings County Hospital Center (KCHC), operated by the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), is set to unveil its new state-of-the-art Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner, the first of its kind in any hospital, public or private, in the borough of Brooklyn. This advanced cancer-detection technology was acquired largely through the efforts of Congressman Edolphus "Ed" Towns (D-Brooklyn 10th District). Through the appropriations process in Washington, Congressman Towns secured a total of $440,000 for the equipment.
The PET scanner is the most sophisticated diagnostic tool available for the early detection of cancer. This PET or PET/CT scanner uniquely combines both functions of positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT). It captures functional and anatomic images in a single scan, simultaneously providing clear anatomical and metabolic details of the body. The image produced records living tissues and life processes, which will allow physicians to more accurately detect tumors and a variety of cancers. Cancers such as melanoma, lymphoma, lung, colorectal, and ovarian can now be more accurately diagnosed, localized, and treated. The PET scanner also aids in reducing biopsy sampling errors, improving therapy planning, and better assessing chemo or radiation therapy.
“The PET scanner is one of the newest technologies in positron emission tomography. Unlike CAT scans or regular radiology equipment that looks at anatomical structures, a PET scanner actually looks at physiological function,” notes Dr. Benjamin Chu, President of HHC. “This initiative represents a new direction for HHC. We are always looking for ways to improve patient care. The PET imaging scanner identifies cancer cell growth that may not yet be visible by other means. Improved diagnosis and early treatment lowers costs, prevents suffering and saves lives.”
“By providing this funding, we are saying that the people of Brooklyn deserve nothing less than the best, most effective and efficient technology to treat diseases such as cancer and coronary disease,” said Congressman Towns. For patients with coronary artery disease and/or for those who have had previous heart attacks the PET scan can also differentiate live heart tissue from scarring. The radiologist performing PET studies consult with cardiologist and cardio thoracic surgeons to determine whether coronary artery angioplasty or bypass surgery can be beneficial in improving the function of the heart.
"This revolutionary equipment will help us take our treatment of cancer to an even higher level," said Jean Leon, senior vice president of the Central Brooklyn Family Health Network (CBFHN) and executive director of KCHC. "And we applaud Congressman Town's commitment to helping us take care of our community using the best that science and technology has to offer. Our community deserves the best health care and that’s exactly what our new PET scanner service will provide.”
Rebecca Gonzalez, associate director of Nuclear Medicine at KCHC notes, “The first PET scanner in Brooklyn is here at Kings County. Patients throughout Flatbush, East Flatbush, Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant and throughout the borough will now have access to the most sophisticated and technologically advanced diagnostic tool used in the early detection of cancer. In essence, the PET scanner will benefit our patients, by giving us the opportunity to diagnosis and treat them earlier, enabling us to save more lives.”