ECONOMYNEXT –Cancer patients at the Apeksha Hospital, Maharagama are facing a double blow as the facility has run out of vital supplies to operate a scanner that helps in the diagnosis and crucial treatment, doctors said.

The main cancer hospital in Sri Lanka is currently facing a shortage of radioisotope used in Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans. This shortage is affecting patient care and management at the hospital.

The PET scanner at the Hospital is not functioning as the government cannot afford the cost of the isotope, doctors said.

The radioisotope used in PET scans has a half-life, meaning it starts to lose its power from the moment it is manufactured. This requires the isotope to have a very short time between manufacture and administration.

Sri Lanka imports this isotope from India, but due to flight delays, the drug can be held-up up to seven hours, making the effectiveness of the test questionable.To manufacture the radioisotope, one needs a Cyclotron unit. Sri Lanka has been trying to establish such a unit for a long time, with a project currently underway at the KDU hospital premises.

Manufacturing the isotope in Sri Lanka would drastically reduce the cost and ensure that cancer patients receive the necessary scans for diagnosis and treatment.

Doctors urged the government to take immediate action to address this issue and ensure that cancer patients receive the care they desperately need. The hospital is also urging the public to support their cause and help raise awareness about the shortage of supplies.



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