Imaging During Your Cancer Journey

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The first step in diagnosing and treating cancer is seeing it inside the body. Our diagnostic imaging services use the latest imaging technologies to help cancer care professionals see and inspect tumors in bones, soft tissues and even the tiniest of blood vessels.

From detecting and diagnosing tumors to performing a wide range of minimally invasive procedures, our robust team of radiologists, nuclear medicine specialists and physicians leverages state-of-the-art imaging equipment to fight cancer. The latest techniques and technologies, including 3D-Tomosynthesis capabilities to detect and diagnose breast disease and the strongest 3T MRI equipment available, enable our cancer care professionals to deliver chemotherapy directly into tumors, treat bones weakened by cancer and use non-surgical techniques to treat certain types of cancers.

For patients, this means the most accurate cancer diagnosis, staging and treatment available. For health care providers, it means the best opportunity to identify and fight cancer.

Diagnostic imaging services available to Banner MD Anderson patients include:

Imaging guidance enables radiologists to safely direct biopsy needles to suspicious areas or lesions in the body to collect small tissue samples for evaluation. CT and Ultrasound are most frequently used for image-guided biopsies; however, MRI or X-ray may be used in certain circumstances.

Digital and computerized X-ray imaging is a filmless way of creating state-of-the-art X-ray images. The Pearce Family Trust Diagnostic Imaging Center at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center houses a specialized dual energy X-ray unit that is used primarily for chest X-rays. This state-of-the-art equipment eliminates obstructing bone structures to provide more comprehensive images and, in turn, the most accurate diagnoses.

CT scanning uses specialized X-ray equipment and sophisticated computer processing to obtain cross-sectional images of virtually any plane of the body. CT scans show organs, bones and vessels in greater detail than traditional X-rays.

MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, a radiofrequency and sophisticated computer algorithms to produce very detailed diagnostic images of the body. At Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center, we use a 3T magnet strength MRI unit, the strongest unit available, to produce the highest quality images available today.

Mammography uses a low-dose X-ray system to examine breast tissue and aid in the early detection and diagnosis of breast disease. The Women’s Imaging Center at Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center is a completely digital unit offering state-of-the-art 3D-Tomosynthesis technology to better visualize breast tissue and detect tumors.

By using multiple images to construct three-dimensional images of the breast, 3D-Tomosyntheis enables providers to better visualize breast tissue and detect tumors while reducing unnecessary call-backs for patients.

Nuclear Medicine uses small amounts of radiopharmaceuticals that, after being injected, inhaled or swallowed, accumulate in the organ or body part to be examined. A special camera detects the energy given off by the accumulated radiopharmaceutical and produces diagnostic images containing information about both the structure and the function of the organ/body part being examined.

PET and PET/CT scanning is a special type of nuclear medicine. Like traditional nuclear medicine imaging, a PET entails injecting a radiopharmaceutical and using a special camera to detect the energy from the organ or body part being tested. Conducting PET and CT imaging concurrently enables physicians to detect cancer and determine the efficacy of a cancer treatment plan, as well as evaluate organ and tissue function.

R2 Early Detection Image Checker is a computer-aided detection unit that uses sophisticated computer software to highlight usual and/or abnormal areas of the body. These areas may be marked for further review by a radiologist, ensuring the most accurate diagnosis.

Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to produce real-time images of the body. It has the capacity to show the structure and movement of organs as well as enable radiologists to see blood flowing through the vessels. Ultrasound also may be used by physicians to perform minor procedures, such as biopsies and fluid removal.

Vascular or interventional radiology is a subspecialty of radiology that uses imaging guidance to perform minimally invasive procedures, either for diagnostic or treatment purposes. Interventional radiology entails using image guidance to direct a needle, small tube or tiny catheter into the area of the body to be viewed and/or treated.