LAHORE - Pakistan has taken a leap forward in diagnosis and treatment of cancer with installation of modern PET CT Scanning technology at the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre (SKMCH&RC) at a cost of $ 7 billion. It was made possible by the valued contribution of local and foreign donors of the Hospital. The PET CT Scanning is now considered an essential tool in early diagnosis, accurate staging, precise treatment and monitoring of cancer. About 75 per cent of the poor cancer patients will now get free of cost cancer diagnosis and treatment facility through the PET CT Scanning technology at the Hospital while the rich will pay Rs 30,000 per test. In this connection, a mega inauguration ceremony of the PET CT Scanning technology was held here on Sunday at the Hospital. Thousands of local and foreign philanthropists attended this ceremony. Hospital BoG Chairman Imran Khan, Trade Commissioner of Belgium in Pakistan Abid Hussain, SKMCH&RC Chief Executive Officer Dr Fasial Sultan, and Chairman & CEO Philips (company) Asad S Jaffar spoke on the occasion. Renowned journalist Hamid Mir hosted the event while Sumera Yousaf, the first patient of the SKMCH&RC, was the chief guest. It may be recalled that she is the same person who inaugurated the SKMCH&RC in 1994. Imran Khan in his address said that until now patients from Pakistan had to go to Europe, Singapore, or India for these scans, but with the commissioning of this machines at the Hospital, the country would now save an amount of Rs 3 billion per year. He said that the Hospital as its mission would provide free of cost scan for the deserving patients. The SKMCH&RC started work on the project in 2007 for upgrading the cancer diagnosis facilities and till the end of 2009 it managed to import and install PET CT Scanning technology. A Belgian company, Ion Beam Application (IBA) has supplied the equipment. About 35 per cent donation in the purchase was contributed by the Walloon Region of Belgium on recommendations of its trade commissioner in Islamabad.