Health Sciences North officially opens PET Scanner Suite

The new “Sam Bruno PET Scanner Suite” in Sudbury has been officially opened by the Northern Cancer Foundation, members of Sam Bruno’s family and the PET Steering Committee.

According to The Moose, HSN spokesperson, Jim Turnball, says it took some ten years and $8.9-million to see the project to completion.

Suffering from colon cancer, Turnball says Sam Bruno spent his last few years pushing for one to be built in northeastern Ontario.

He says the Sam Bruno PET Scanner Fund was started in 2010 in Bruno’s memory, who passed away a year earlier from colon cancer.

Turnball adds organizations from across northeastern Ontario, including the Teals for Toes campaign in Espanola, can be proud of what they have accomplished in bringing the Pet Scanner to the North.

We’ve been working toward this day for 10 years. Sam would be so pleased,” said Frank Bruno, Sam’s brother. “Sam spent the final years of his life speaking out about the importance of a PET Scanner for Northeastern Ontario.  He wanted people in our region to have local access to this technology so that they could receive the best possible care closer to home. We are so thankful for all the support from our community and partners.”

A PET scanner is a state of the art nuclear imaging test that uses a radioactive sugar to create images of body functions and metabolism which are then used to diagnose different types of cancer, as well as cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders. Previously, patients would travel to Toronto, or another large urban centre, to access this technology. HSN anticipates performing 1,100 scans in the first year alone, which should result in saving a total of 880,000 kilometres in travel for patients in Northeastern Ontario.

“Imagine looking at a forest full of trees and one tree is lit up with Christmas lights. That is how easy it is to detect cancer with a PET scanner,” said Dr. Ryan Carlson, a Radiation Oncologist with the Northeast Cancer Centre at HSN. “This allows us to determine the full extent of a patient’s cancer so we can develop the best possible treatment options for them. We can also monitor their progress and adjust that care plan as needed.”

The Sam Bruno PET Scanner Fund was started in 2010 in the memory of the health care advocate, who passed away a year earlier from colon cancer.

“The people of Greater Sudbury and communities from across Northeastern Ontario were captivated by Sam’s story. They should be commended for getting behind Sam’s vision and through their donations making his dream become a reality,” said Tannys Laughren, Executive Director of the Northern Cancer Foundation, which helped raise $4.3 million through the Sam Bruno PET Scanner Fund and through donations from across the region.

The new Sam Bruno PET Scanner Suite supports HSN’s Purpose to provide high-quality health services, support learning and generate research that improves health outcomes for the people of Northeastern Ontario.


Fact Sheet

  • The Sam Bruno PET Scanner Fund was established at the Northern Cancer Foundation in 2010, in memory of Sam Bruno who passed away one year earlier from colon cancer.


  • In December 2015, HSN learned the provincial government could provide $1.6 million in annual operational funding for a permanent PET Scanner if HSN and the community raise funds to buy the machine.


  • In June 2016, NE LHIN supports a PET Scanner Suite for Greater Sudbury.


  • In March 2018, HSN secured final approval from the Ministry of Health to award the construction contract for the PET Scanner Suite.


  • Groundbreaking ceremony held on June 2018 to mark the beginning of construction of 4,500 sq. ft expansion of HSN’s Nuclear Medicine Department to include PET Scanner Suite.


  • The PET Scanner arrived this past June and there have already been close to 200 scans completed in the suite.


  • The total cost of the project was $8.9 million. The Ministry of Health contributed $4.6 million while The Northern Cancer Foundation raised $4.3 million through the Sam Bruno PET Scan Fund and from donations across Northeastern Ontario.


  • The opening of the PET Scanner Suite will save patients across Northeastern Ontario an estimated 880,000 kilometres every year.


  • We expect to perform 1,100 scans per year based on demand and according to Cancer Care Ontario funded clinical indications.

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