New procedure helps detect breast cancer - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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New procedure helps detect breast cancer

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There is a new way to help detect breast cancer. (WFSB) There is a new way to help detect breast cancer. (WFSB)

There is a new way to detect breast cancer that is not only more accurate than mammograms, but it can lead to less biopsies and testing.

“I don't think you can put much of a price on piece of mind,” Ruth Parente, who is a retired teacher, said.

Parente said she takes her health very seriously and that's because she's considered to be at high-risk for developing breast cancer.

“I've had a lot of mammograms,” Parente said.  

Up to 40 to 45 percent of U.S. women have dense breasts including Parente. Breast cancer also runs in her family.

“My mother and her sister both died of breast cancer,” Parente said.  

Several weeks ago, she came into Middlesex Hospital and got an ultrasound on her breast after doctors told her they may have found "some areas of concern.”

“What Dr. Jain said to me was, that I could come back here in six months and have another ultrasound,” Parente said. “But, I could also do this.”

The other option Parente is referring to is molecular breast imaging technology. It is also known as an MBI, which is revolutionizing the way doctors can detect or rule out breast cancer in their patients.

“Every day, we have a lot of inconclusive mammographic findings that fall in that gray zone, and we don't know what to do with them,” Dr. Ravi Jain, who is a radiologist at Middlesex Hospital, said. “This test can be used to further evaluate these findings.”

This is especially for those patients who have dense breasts.

“Because of the breast density, often times we miss cancers,” Jain said.

 But, MBI is a complete game-changer for doctors.

“The number of cancers picked up with this technology is quadruple as compared to just mammography,” Jain said.

Jain showed Eyewitness News the difference between the mammogram and MBI.

“This new technology does not use x-rays, or ultrasound, or MRI,” Jain said.

Instead, a small amount of radioactive substance is injected into the patient's blood stream.

“This substance locks onto any cancer cells that may be present,” Jain said.

The patient's breast is rested lightly between the machine's two detector plates, which pickup on radioactivity.

“We acquire two images of each breast,” Jain said.

The procedure takes a total of 32-minutes, which is a little longer than a mammogram. But, Parente said it's worth it.

“If they found something with this procedure, I know that it would be a very early stage because nothing has shown up on any other scans,” Jain said.

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