06/20/2013 01:21 EDT | Updated 08/20/2013 05:12 EDT

Saskatchewan gets first PET-CT scanner to help diagnose, treat cancer patients

SASKATOON - A new diagnostic machine is up and running in Saskatoon that will save cancer patients from having to leave the province for scans.

It's Saskatchewan's first positron emission tomography-computed tomography scanner, better known as a PET-CT scanner.

The scanner is primarily used to detect cancer, help with treatment recommendations and track prognosis.

For example, a PET-CT scan can help determine if a mass is malignant or benign and differentiate between scarring and a recurrent tumour.

Hundreds of Saskatchewan cancer patients used to have go to Edmonton or Winnipeg to get the scans.

Saskatoon Health Region says it expects to provide service to 1,200 patients from across the province this fiscal year and 1,900 patients a year after that.