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New Mammography Technology Effective in Detecting Breast Cancer
Date:12/1/2008

CHICAGO, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A study has found that positron emission mammography (PEM), a new technique for imaging the breast, is not affected by either breast density or a woman's hormonal status, two factors that limit the effectiveness of standard mammography and MRI at detecting cancer. Results will be presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

"The ability of PEM to detect cancer does not appear to be adversely affected by breast density, hormone replacement therapy or menopausal status," said lead researcher Kathy Schilling, M.D., director of breast imaging and intervention at the Center for Breast Care at Boca Raton Community Hospital in Florida. "The sensitivity of PEM is equal to or better than breast MRI, and PEM has fewer false-positive results."

The ability of x-ray mammography, a standard screening tool for breast cancer, to detect lesions is reduced when performed on dense breasts, where tissue is less fatty and more glandular. Breast MRI is effective at detecting cancer in dense breasts and is increasingly being used to screen women at high risk for breast cancer. However, MRI has a high incidence of false-positive test results that indicate cancer is present when it is not. Researchers believe these false positives are due in part to hormonal changes that occur during a woman's menstrual cycle.

"Unless the MRI is performed on day seven through 14 of a woman's cycle, reading MRI images is extremely difficult," Dr. Schilling said. "This is a significant problem with breast MRI."

Because hormones do not have the same effect on PEM results, Dr. Schilling believes the imaging technique could play a significant role both in preoperatively evaluating breast cancer patients and in screening high-risk patients.

In the study, 208 patients with breast can
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SOURCE Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)
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