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Blackrock Clinic News Blackrock Clinic becomes first private hospital in Ireland to provide F-18 PSMA PET/CT Scans for prostate cancer

Blackrock Clinic becomes first private hospital in Ireland to provide F-18 PSMA PET/CT Scans for prostate cancer

20th Oct 2021

The F-18 PSMA Scan will be used to evaluate aggressive prostate cancers and will mean patients no longer have to travel overseas for these scans

Blackrock Clinic is now providing a new type of scan for prostate cancer. The PSMA (Protein Specific Membrane Antigen) is labelled with F-18 and the PET/CT scan is used to detect the F-18 PSMA within the body for the first time in Ireland.  PSMA provides the most accurate staging evaluation for men with prostate cancer.

The scan is most popular for patients who have previously had prostate cancer and are now re-presenting with concern of disease recurrence, most frequently with elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA). PSMA can also be used as a staging tool to more accurately detect the spread of prostate cancer in a newly diagnosed patient. Due to difficulties accessing this scan in Ireland, many Irish patients currently have to go overseas to the UK or Europe for these scans. 

The PSMA PET/CT Scan uses nuclear isotopes in Fluorine-18 to detect certain proteins in the body by attaching to and “lighting up” on a scan when they come into contact with cancerous growths. 

Professor Stephen Connolly, a consultant urologist at the Blackrock Clinic said: “This is very good news for men with prostate cancer. This simple and effective scan will help to quickly and accurately evaluate prostate cancer, which in turn will lead to better precision in treatment and improvements in outcome.”

Mr James O'Donoghue, CEO Blackrock Clinic in Radiology Imaging Center
Mr James I’Donoghue, CEO Blackrock Clinic

CEO of the Blackrock Clinic, James O’Donoghue welcomed the development saying: “At the Blackrock Clinic we strive to provide the most advanced care to all of our patients. The PSMA PET/CT scan using the Fluorine-18 radioisotope is the latest technology we have introduced specifically to improve men’s health and wellbeing.”

Blackrock Clinic is the only private hospital in the country offering such a scan and agreement has been reached with the VHI to fund this diagnostic test for members on certain plans. If a patient’s insurer does not cover the cost of this scan, it is available on a self-pay basis.  

Internationally, these scans are widespread in the evaluation of prostate cancer. PSMA PET/CT is now considered the best staging tool for the most common cancer affecting men, representing a new standard of care.

Image of CT Scanning Machine

However, in Ireland, only one public hospital is currently providing PSMA PET/CT scanning which means that there are long delays in accessing this important diagnostic tool. Being the first hospital to provide PET/CT in Ireland in 2000, Blackrock Clinic is delighted with this development as it will significantly improve access to these valuable scans for patients and consultants.