Recently a family member of mine was diagnosed with cancer. He was asked by his doctor to conduct a bone scan to see how far the cancer had spread.
The information the bone scan can reveal will be helpful in deciding what sort of treatment a patient can pursue taking into account the state of his health, his age, and whether or not the cancer has metastasised or spread to the bone.
[Updated: May 22, 2019]: Here’s a cool Ted Ed video on particle accelerators in hospitals and how they can help patients detect the spread of cancer faster than many other machinery can.
Because the Bone Scan was not available at the hospital our doctor was attached to, we were advised to seek out other hospitals to get the scan done. Little did we know that this was going to be a lot tougher than expected.
The doctor gave us names of a few hospitals, government and private, in Malaysia and in Singapore to enquire at. The problem with government hospitals is that you need to wait quite a while before you get your turn at the machine. Around three months long.
For private hospitals, the machine is only available in one or two of the larger hospitals, which may then charge you around RM1500 for a scan. And even then, we need to wait two weeks for them to collect enough patients to get the scan conducted.
I was told that the exclusivity of this machine is due to the use of radioisotopes as the tracer materials which is to be injected into the patient’s body. Only larger hospitals have the capabilities to deal with the radiation waste.
Despite this, we figured we could try our luck elsewhere. We figured wrong.
The BONE SCAN Test IS RIDICULOUSLY(!) HARD TO FIND
Personally, I’ve called at least six hospitals/medical centres to ask about this test.
The hospital’s general line almost always sends me to the Radiology department and the Radiology department will tell me “no, we don’t have this thing you are looking for”. This happened over and over again.
Eventually it was a staff at Glenmarie KL hospital that explained to me that this is something you can find under the Nuclear Medicine Department, not at the Radiology department. #pffffft
She was also kind enough to give me the contact number for place called the Nuclear Medicine Centre in KL. It’s ridiculous that I have never heard of this centre because they do good work.
About the Nuclear Medicine Centre
The Nuclear Medicine Centre in KL, Malaysia is attached to the National Cancer Society of Malaysia, a non-governmental organisation.
The Centre offers nuclear imaging tests, including the bone scan at highly subsidised prices. When I asked, they told me it would only cost us RM600 for the scan.
To make an appointment you will have to have a referral letter from a hospital. While making the booking, you need to only leave the name of the patient, the name of the doctor and the hospital that issued the referral letter.
You can bring that document and all other relevant documents on the day of your bone scan appointment. The appointment date given to me was within 6 days of my phone call. The relief I felt for being able to find this centre is not something I can relay in words.
If you would like to know more about this centre, here are a few links and details that can help:
- Nuclear Medicine Centre website
- Address: 119, 107, Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz, Kampung Baru, 50300 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur (Location)
- Tel: 03-2698 1053
- Opening hours: 8.30am to 4.30pm (Mondays to Fridays)
- To make a booking, you need a referral letter from a hospital.