A case for the provision of positron emission tomography (PET) in South African public hospitals

Sathekge, M. M. ; Warwick, James M. ; Vangu, M. D. T. ; Ellmann, A. ; Mann, M. (2006-07)

The original publication is available at hhtp://www.samj.org.za

CITATION: Sathekge, M. M., et al. 2006. A case for the provision of positron emission tomography (PET) in South African public hospitals. South African Medical Journal, 96(7):598-601.


Nuclear medicine is expanding into new areas of clinical practice, of which positron emission tomography (PET) is an example. As in new treatments with labelled monoclonal antibodies, especially for lymphoma, the wide introduction of PET into health care in South Africa presents benefits and challenges to patients, doctors, and funders. PET is an imaging modality that has been available in specialised centres in the developed world since the 1970s. It was initially used as a research tool to image organ function in vivo. The development of the radiopharmaceutical F-18- fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), a glucose analogue taken up avidly by the majority of tumours, has resulted in PET now being used routinely in the management of many cancer patients in centres with access to it. There has been rapid growth of PET in the developed world and it has also been introduced into developing countries, including Egypt. We welcome government initiatives to establish PET imaging in South Africa, as evidenced by the provision of cyclotrons in Gauteng and Cape Town.

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