Gamma Camera Sees Tumors Not Found By Mammograms
    By News Staff | December 1st 2008 01:37 PM | 1 comment | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    A dual-headed dedicated gamma camera used during molecular breast imaging (MBI) can accurately detect small breast tumors less than 2 cm in size, according to a study performed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

    One-hundred fifty patients who had suspicious lesions smaller than 2 cm in size were imaged using dual-head molecular breast imaging. “There were 128 cancers confirmed in 88 patients,” according to Carrie B. Hruska, MD, lead author of the study. “The sensitivity rate of dual-head MBI during the study was 90% (115/128)”, she said.

    “Dual head MBI involves a very light, pain-free compression of the breast. Two views of each breast are performed, lasting for about 10 minutes per view,” said Hruska. “The patient receives an IV injection of a commonly used radiotracer and this tracer circulates throughout the body and is preferentially absorbed in the breast cancer,” she said.

    MBI is about the same cost as digital mammography. Although mammography works very well for most women, there are many women who could benefit from an additional test like dual head MBI that is both cost-effective and also has a good specificity (meaning it won’t give a lot of false positive results). It would be useful for women who have very dense breasts on mammography or who are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer,” said Hruska. This study appears in the December issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

    “MBI is still in the research stages, but it is expected to become more widely available in the future,” said Hruska.


    It is not surprising, but the main point is that so little is done to teach specialists how to read a mammogram in the first place. In many cases every year, a cancer patient discovers that the cancer was visible two years earlier and she was victim of incompetent or sloppy jobs. You would not believe the difference of analysis that a university professor can make compared to what they tell you at the next free clinic based on the same mammo. It is not because the clinic is free, it is a matter of training the eye, and that training takes time and money. Clinics usually make you sign a form saying that you understand that not all cancers are visible on a mammogram, which is true and avoids law suits. It also allows them to skip better training.