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Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging Detects Cancer More Accurately Than Ultrasound.

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BSGIA recent study presented at the annual breast meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Washington, D.C., revealed that Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI) is approximately twice as effective in detecting cancers and more than three times as likely to guide to the accurate diagnosis when compared to ultrasound.

BSGI to detect breast cancer.

BSGI is a molecular breast imaging method used frequently in breast centers allover the U.S. as a diagnostic test that complements the anatomical imaging of mammography. It is performed by injecting the radiopharmaceutical Sestamibi, an imaging material that when combined with breast-optimized gamma cameras helps evaluate breast tissue function. Dr. Ann Rosenberg, a dedicated breast surgeon in Philadelphia and the lead author of the study, and her team conducted a retrospective multicenter study comparing the results of BSGI and ultrasound in patients who had dense breast tissue and a remaining diagnostic concern after mammography. The study was performed using a Dilon 6800 Gamma Camera with the standard recommend dose of nearly 20 millicuries of Sestamibi. The results emphasized that BSGI was nearly twice as effective in identifying cancers and more than three times as likely to lead to the correct diagnosis when compared to ultrasound.

BSGI pros and cons.

Another recent study, by Edward Hendrick, PhD., published in the August 2010 issue of Radiology argued that the radiation dose emitted from BSGI is higher than that from mammography and warned from using it in routine screening unless there is evidence of disease or significant risk of developing breast cancer. Dr. Anne Rosenberg commented: "We could not agree more and that is not the role for this technology. We often see patients with mammograms that are very difficult to interpret, but provide some indication that there might be cancer lurking in the dense tissue. Historically, ultrasound would be used to examine these patients and often the results would be equally confusing because both mammography and ultrasound examine the anatomy or structure of breast tissue. For patients with dense breasts, there is a lot of structure to look through which can potentially obscure the features common to breast cancers." Dr. Anne finally concluded that for patients with dense breasts and an unresolved clinical concern, the benefit of performing BSGI exceeds the risk of radiation exposure by a factor of 295:1. "The risk of a missed cancer is huge compared to the small radiation dose the patient receives in a BSGI study. As physicians, we are always weighing the risk of all medical procedures against their benefit to the patient. There is no question that for these patients the benefit of BSGI is well worth the risk."

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