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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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Mauritius To Get PET Scan To Help Diagnose Cancer Faster

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The Cabinet has agreed to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Groupement d’Intérêt Public Cyclotron Réunion Océan Indien (GIP CYROI) of Réunion Island for the procurement of radiotracers for the Positron Emission Tomography/Computed Tomography (PET/CT) Scanner of the Nuclear Medicine Department of the New Cancer Centre. This is a breakthrough in the fight against cancer. Diagnosis of cancer in Mauritius and Rodrigues currently take weeks. Genetic testing such as Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Mutation (EGFR) tests analysis are performed in India which means patients must wait for several weeks for results of tests to be sent to India, analysed there and shipped back again to Mauritius. Only then can a diagnosis be established, and treatment begin. This long waiting time can be fatal in cases of aggressive metastasis.

The PET/CT scanner is an imaging machine to detect cancer in the body at an early stage when treatment would be highly effective. Results can be known within two days.

In 2020, 3050 people have been diagnosed with cancer and 1504 cancer deaths have been reported in Mauritius according to the Global Cancer Observatory of the International Agency for Research on Cancer whose role is to conduct and coordinate research within the World Health Organisation. Official data also shows that 15.6% of Mauritians risk developing cancer. 7.7% of our fellow countrymen may die from it.

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