The province of Ontario says it will cover the operating costs of a permanent PET scanner at Health Sciences North in Sudbury.

A positron emission tomography scan is a diagnostic test used to detect certain cancers, heart, and neurological diseases.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care says it will provide the Sudbury hospital with up to $1.6 million in annual operating funding starting April 2016. First, the community and the hospital have to raised the money needed to buy the machine.

There are currently 12 PET centres in Ontario, but patients in northeastern Ontario currently have to travel to Toronto to have a PET scan.

The province says the scanner will allow patients to be tested closer to home and will perform up to 750 tests per year.

There's been a campaign to bring a PET scanner to Sudbury for years in the name of the late Sam Bruno. He started pushing for a machine after travelling to Toronto for PET scans for his own cancer. When Bruno died in 2010, a committee kept his dream alive — and has raised nearly $1 million.

"We have the highest cancer death rate in the province and we are the only region without a PET scanner. So it's imperative for the people of the northeast to have one here," fundraiser Brenda Tessaro told CBC News earlier this year.