People diagnosed with certain types of cancer will now be spared travel to Sydney to undergo staging scans, thanks to a specialised piece of equipment purchased for Wollongong Hospital.
The machine produces an agent that is given to a cancer patient when they have a PET scan.
This agent binds to prostate and endocrine tumours, which makes them show up on the imaging.
Associate Professor Barry Elison said physicians used a different agent for 95 per cent of cancers, but it did not work for prostate or endocrine cancers.
He said the substance only lasted about 20 minutes, which meant it could not be brought down to Wollongong from Sydney.
This meant that until Wollongong Hospital acquired the equipment, patients had to travel to Sydney for staging scans.
The equipment is used often, roughly three times a week, depending on demand; four patients were in need of it on Thursday afternoon alone.
It was purchased with the assistance of Illawarra Cancer Cancers, who contributed $140,000 towards the cost through their annual Banquet at the Beach fundraiser, last held in 2019, and pledges from donors.
Radiation oncologists also paid for the machine.
"I really want to thank the Cancer Carers... the local community for getting behind them, and the support of the radiation oncologists," Northern Illawarra Hospitals Group general manager Nicole Sheppard said.
Illawarra Cancer Carers will host their next Banquet at the Beach fundraiser this September.
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