Early Detection Saves Lives: Panel shares latest breast imaging techniques
SUN CITY WEST (Oct. 4, 2011) – The earlier breast cancer is detected, the greater the chance for recovery and survival. While the yearly mammogram is still the gold standard for early detection, there are other imaging techniques that when used in conjunction with mammography can provide an earlier diagnosis. A panel of experts and physicians will discuss these new techniques from 12 to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26, at Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center, 14502 W. Meeker Blvd., Sun City West. Register for this free event by calling (602) 230-CARE (2273). Light refreshments will be served.
Breast Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI) is one of the newest imaging techniques. Banner Del E. Webb’s Women’s Diagnostic Services is the only facility in the greater Phoenix area to offer BSGI. BSGI is an option after a mammography turns up a questionable finding. This can happen when breast tissue is dense, prior surgery or trauma has caused scarring, or when implants are present.
While mammography is a highly sensitive screening tool, meaning it is effective in detecting breast abnormalities, it is not highly specific in being able to determine whether an abnormality is malignant (cancerous) or benign. BSGI is both high for sensitivity and specificity. A special radiopharmaceutical tracer is injected into the patient’s arm. This tracer, which emits a very low dose of radiation, is absorbed by cancerous tissue, but not by benign tissue. Often patients with “lumpy” breasts undergo needle biopsies only to find out that the lumps are benign. BSGI can give these patients peace of mind and for those in which cancer is detected; they can rest assured that there is a clear picture of all the present cancerous tissue. BSGI is an alternative to other imaging techniques such as MRI.
Probably one of the most exciting innovations in breast cancer imaging is Breast Tomosynthesis. Tomosynthesis allows radiologists to view the breast in 3D. The technology works similar to a CT scan where a series of one-millimeter “slices” of the breast are taken from various angles and then the breast is “reconstructed” in a three-dimensional view. The importance of being able to view the image in 3D is that the radiologist sees in, around and under tissue. Confusion caused by superimposed tissue as may be seen on a mammogram is removed with this technique.
The panel will also discuss the importance of annual mammograms and the benefits of digital mammography, which remains the first-line gold standard in early detection.
“We are very excited to share all of the new methods of early detection and diagnosis with our community,” said Larry Bonno, administrative director of Medical Imaging at the nonprofit hospital. “So many people do not realize the many options available for breast cancer detection that we have right here at Banner Del E. Webb. This is a wonderful opportunity for the public to learn about these tools and ask any questions they may have.”
About Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center
Banner Del E. Webb is a 404-bed, acute-care hospital offering orthopedic surgery, heart care, emergency care, general surgery, cancer care, obstetrics and gynecology, medical imaging, women’s diagnostic services, outpatient services, rehabilitation and behavioral care.
Banner Del E. Webb is part of Banner Health, a nonprofit health care system with 23 hospitals throughout the West. Supporting Banner Del E. Webb’s mission of excellent patient care is Sun Health Foundation, which encourages charitable giving to enhance health care delivery.