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RSNA: New Techniques Improve Breast Cancer Diagnoses

Breast-specific gamma imaging, positron emission mammography seen as advancements

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Breast-specific gamma imaging (BSGI) may detect breast cancers not found on mammograms or by clinical exam, and positron emission mammography (PEM) may detect cancers regardless of breast density or a woman's hormonal status, according to two studies presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America held Nov. 30 to Dec. 5 in Chicago.

In one study, Rachel F. Brem, M.D., of the George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and colleagues studied 159 women who underwent BSGI after at least one suspicious or cancerous lesion was found by mammography or physical exam. They found that BSGI identified additional suspicious lesions in 46 (29 percent) of the women.

In a second study, Kathy Schilling, M.D., of the Center for Breast Care at Boca Raton Community Hospital in Florida, and colleagues studied 208 breast cancer patients who underwent PEM. They found that PEM identified cancer in 100 percent of fatty breasts, 93 percent of dense breasts, 85 percent of extremely dense breasts, 93 percent of women with and without a history of hormone replacement therapy, 90 percent of pre-menopausal women, and 94 percent of post-menopausal women.

"PEM is easier to use, easier to interpret and easier on the patients than MRI," Shilling said in a statement. "It is also ideal for those patients whose MRI is difficult to interpret due to hormonal influences, women with implants, patients with metal in their bodies, or patients who suffer from claustrophobia. It is exciting that we now have a functional imaging approach with high sensitivity that complements our current anatomic imaging modalities."

Researchers in both studies disclosed financial support from medical device manufacturers.

More Information - Brem
More Information - Schilling

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