Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA) Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan is an advanced imaging technique that helps detect prostate cancer with greater accuracy. It has proven to be very useful for detecting prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
With rising cancer cases in India, more people are opting for this scan. However, the high cost of PSMA PET scan limits its access. In this article, I will discuss the actual cost of PSMA PET scan in Bangalore and things you need to know.
What is a PSMA PET Scan?
A PSMA PET scan uses a radioactive tracer that attaches itself to prostate cancer cells. The tracer emits tiny positively charged particles called positrons. When the positrons interact with electrons, they produce two gamma rays moving in opposite directions. These gamma rays are detected by a PET scanner which creates pictures of where the radioactive tracer has accumulated.
Areas of the body with more radioactive tracer appear brighter on the images, indicating possible cancer sites. PSMA PET scan is more accurate than other imaging tests as it can detect smaller tumors and metastases.
Actual Cost of PSMA PET Scan in Bangalore
The actual cost of a PSMA PET scan in reputed diagnostic centers and hospitals in Bangalore ranges between Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 50,000. Some key factors that determine the cost are:
- Type of facility: Scans done in major corporate hospitals cost higher between Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 50,000. Scans at diagnostic centers and smaller nursing homes range between Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 40,000.
- Radioisotope used: The commonly used isotope is Gallium-68 which is costlier than other isotopes like Fluorine-18. Scan cost varies based on the isotope used.
- Additional charges: There may be additional charges for consultation with an oncologist, reports and documentation. The package cost may or may not include these charges.
- Insurance coverage: Some insurance plans provide partial or full coverage for PSMA PET scans bringing down the out-of-pocket cost. Policy terms and coverage need to be checked in detail.
To be precise, the standard cost of a PSMA PET scan in Bangalore ranges from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 50,000 depending on the facility and additional charges. Insurance coverage can further reduce this cost.
What to Check Before the Scan?
There are a few things patients need to keep in mind before opting for a PSMA PET scan:
- Clinical need: It is advisable to undergo PSMA PET scan only when clinically indicated, based on doctor’s advice.
- Preparation requirements: Scans require fasting for 4-6 hours before the procedure. Medication details need to be provided to the center.
- Post-scan care: Patients need to rest adequately after the scan and follow instructions regarding medication, fluids, etc.
- Report interpretation: Scans are reported by experienced radiologists but discussing the report with the treating oncologist is important.
- Follow up plan: The scan results need to be evaluated along with other tests to decide the treatment approach.
Proper planning and preparation helps get accurate and meaningful results from PSMA PET scans. Following doctor’s instructions pre and post scan is equally important.
Affordable Financing Options
For those unable to afford the high out-of-pocket costs of PSMA PET scan, here are some financing options to consider:
- Crowdfunding portals: Sites like Ketto and Milaap allow creating fundraisers to raise money from friends and family circles. The amount raised can help cover scan costs.
- Bank loans: Public and private banks offer health/medical loans at concessional rates to cover treatment costs of serious illnesses. The loan can be used to pay for PSMA PET scan.
- Charity organizations: Several NGOs and charitable trusts provide financial aid for cancer care including diagnostic tests. Details can be found online or by contacting local charities.
- Government hospitals: Scans are available free of cost or at subsidized rates at state-run cancer institutes and medical colleges across Karnataka. However, there could be long waiting periods.
- Negotiating with providers: Many diagnostic centers and smaller nursing homes are open to negotiation if costs are a concern. Directly explaining the financial situation may bring down the scan price to a more affordable level.
How Accurate Is The Test?
Here are some details on the accuracy of PSMA PET scans:
- PSMA PET scans are highly accurate for detecting prostate cancer, especially for advanced or metastatic disease. Studies have found it to be more accurate than conventional imaging tests.
- For primary prostate cancer (cancer still confined to the prostate), PSMA PET scans have an accuracy rate of about 86-90%. This means it can correctly identify cancer in the prostate in 86-90% of cases.
- In detecting cancer spread (metastases) to lymph nodes or distant organs, PSMA PET scans have an accuracy of about 94-98%. So it very rarely misses cancer that has spread beyond the prostate.
- A major advantage is it can detect small tumor deposits or metastases as small as 5 mm in size. Other scans may miss lesions smaller than 1 cm.
- The accuracy is dependent on factors like the PSMA levels in the tumor (some tumors express less PSMA), ability of the radioactive tracer to reach the cancer site, and reader experience in interpreting scans.
- A negative or normal PSMA PET scan does not completely rule out prostate cancer. Additional tests may still be needed.
- When combined with other imaging tests like CT/MRI or biopsy, the accuracy increases further as other findings can validate or negate the PSMA PET results.
As a single imaging modality, PSMA PET scans have a very high accuracy of over 85-90% for primary cancer and over 94% for detecting metastatic cancer spread. When used along with other tests, it provides very accurate information on prostate cancer staging and spread.
What is covered under Ayushman Bharat Yojana?
The government-run Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (ABPM-JAY) scheme provides a coverage amount of Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year for secondary and tertiary care procedures. Key points about its coverage for PSMA PET scan:
- PSMA PET scans are included in the defined packages and procedures covered under the scheme for both public and private empanelled hospitals.
- The scan will be available free of cost for eligible beneficiaries at any of the empanelled hospitals across the country.
- The beneficiary need only show their valid Ayushman card to avail this service without any out-of-pocket expense.
So for those eligible under ABPM-JAY, this scheme can fully cover the cost of PSMA PET scan in Bangalore or elsewhere in India.
In summary, while PSMA PET scan remains an expensive diagnostic test, awareness about insurance coverage options, affordable financing methods and government schemes like ABPM-JAY can help more patients access this important investigation for prostate cancer. Proper planning and guidance is necessary to avail scans either free or at minimum costs.
KIRAN NUCLEAR MEDICINE PET/CT CENTRE well known PET scan centre based at Bangalore provide best PET Scan in Bangalore to patients with high precision and with early diagnosis.