By Angela Keen
HONOLULU (KHNL) - It's estimated as many as 5,000 people die from cancer every year in Hawaii. However, experts say catching cancer in its earliest stages can help save more lives. Now, Hawaii doctors are relying on new state of the art technology that uses two scanners in one to help detect cancer in it's earliest stages. The Hawaii Pet Imaging Center has brought this first of a kind technology to Hawaii.
Chief PET/CT Technologist Bennie Andrews said, "This is the newest state of the art equipment. for finding cancers in the human body".
You could call it a combo scanner. It blends two high tech scanners, the PET scan which stands for Positron Emission Tomography and the CT scan or Computed Technology.
Andrews added, "And when the doctors put the two together they can see the size and shape of the tumors and can see exactly where they are at within the body."
It is known to find the tiniest cancer in the earliest stages.
"Surgically the equipment been proven to find tumors as small as 2mm or that's less than half an inch", Andrews explained.
The scan time is also shorter and patients don't have to be cooped up in a long tunnel. Instead the double scanner is shaped like a donut allowing the patient to see the ceiling.
But, most of all, Bennie Andrews is just grateful he works with one of the latest tools in early detection to help save lives.
"Because of this equipment, cancer is curable", he said.
Your doctor must make the recommendation in order for you to have the scan. HMSA, Kaiser Permanente, and Medicare now cover the scan for most all cancers. There is expanded coverage for those on Medicare.