Great Plains Health announced the arrival of a new positron emission tomography (PET) scanner on Thursday, a vital tool in diagnosing and treating cancer.

The scan provides detailed pictures of organs and tissue, and aids in determining if cancer is spreading and how the body is reacting to cancer treatment. The Biograph Vision PET/CT from Siemens Healthineers is the latest technology available.

“The PET scanner is an absolutely necessary tool when it comes to cancer treatment,” said Dr. Todd E. Hlavaty, a radiation oncologist and medical director of the Callahan Cancer Center. “That’s because if you’ve been told you have cancer, your first questions are how extensive is it and has it spread.”

In addition, a PET scan also aids in the evaluation of heart problems, brain disorders and problems with the central nervous system, including Alzheimer’s disease, depression, epilepsy, head trauma and Parkinson’s disease.d

“We are pleased that our patients have access to this technology,” said Dr. Ladd Lake, radiologist, Innovative Imaging, PC. “It catches cancer earlier, supporting early identification of distant metastasis. The PET scan prioritizes patient safety and comfort, as well as provides the highest image quality and resolution.”

Great Plains Health already performs more than 600 PET scans each year.

Thanks to the generous support of donors, a gift from the Great Plains Health Care Foundation helped provide $500,000 toward the new scanner during fundraising efforts in 2020 and 2021.

“We believe that patients in rural Nebraska should get the best healthcare possible,” said Megan McGown, chief development officer, Great Plains Health, and the director of the Great Plains Health Care Foundation. “This PET scanner can be life changing for patients and families, and we are able to offer it close to home.”

Based in North Platte, Great Plains Health is a fully accredited, 116-bed acute-care regional medical center serving western and central Nebraska, northern Kansas and southern South Dakota with 90 physicians representing nearly 30 medical specialties, the medical center says.

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