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Elasticity imaging identifies cancers and reduces breast biopsies

A new ultrasound technique allows radiologists to accurately distinguish benign from malignant breast lesions. Using elasticity imaging, researchers correctly identified both cancerous and harmless lesions in nearly all of the cases studied. The findings were presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

“In our work, elasticity imaging has been found to have high specificity,?said Richard G. Barr, M.D., Ph.D., professor of radiology at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine and radiologist at Southwoods X-Ray and MRI in Youngstown. “If our results can be reproduced in a large, multicenter trial, this technique could significantly reduce the number of breast biopsies required.?

The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that 212,920 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States this year. Early detection through screening is the best way to combat cancer at its early, most treatable stage. While mammography is the standard breast cancer screening exam, screening with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasound may be more effective for high-risk patients or women with dense breast tissue. MRI and ultrasound depict more breast lesions than mammography but have low specificity, meaning they are less effective at distinguishing benign from malignant lesions, resulting in a high number of invasive biopsies. ACS reports that 80 percent of breast lesions biopsied are found to be benign.

Elasticity imaging is a modification of a routine ultrasound exam. It is like a manual self-exam but much more sensitive. The noninvasive technique works by gauging how much tissue moves when pushed, and it can detect how soft or stiff an object is. “There are no needles,?Dr. Barr explained. “The patient does not notice any difference from a standard ultrasound.?

Dr. Barr used a real-time, free-hand, elasticity imaging technique in correlation with a routine ultrasound exam to
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Source:Radiological Society of North America


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