Beaumont Hospital Troy said Thursday that it is the first hospital in Southeast Michigan to use a new breast cancer imaging tool to help physicians diagnose early-stage breast cancer.

The new technology, called Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging, also known as Molecular Breast Imaging, or BSGI/MBI, may be used with selected patients as a secondary procedure to mammography, ultrasound and MRI.

“People who may benefit from the new imaging technique are those who are at increased risk of the disease; those with scar tissue, implants, or lesions that can be felt, but cannot be detected using standard techniques such as, mammography, ultrasound or MRI,” says Eric Brown, M.D., director of the Comprehensive Breast Care Center and the Multidisciplinary Breast Clinic at Beaumont Hospital, Troy.

“Beaumont’s new, high-resolution digital gamma camera is an imaging tool that uses a small amount of an injected tracer that is actively taken up by breast cancers. The camera allows for imaging of breast tissue with similar views as mammography, without the need for breast compression.” says John Seitz, M.D., chief of Nuclear Medicine at Beaumont, Troy. “BSGI/MBI looks at the breast tissue on a cellular level to help determine the presence or absence of disease.”

A small amount of a radiopharmaceutical, more commonly referred to as a tracer, is injected into the arm, and is absorbed by various cells in the body. The tracer releases invisible gamma rays, that are detected by the camera and translated into a digital image of the breast tissue. As a result of the high metabolic activity of tumors, the cells absorb a greater amount of the tracing agent and are revealed as “dark spots” in the image.

“Mammograms will remain the primary screening and diagnostic tool in breast imaging and will be the first step in breast cancer detection,” Brown said. “More advanced tests such as BSGI/ MBI may be recommended for patients who require additional testing.”

According to the American Cancer Society, awareness of breast changes may result in detection of disease at an earlier stage, when it is most treatable. The most common symptoms of breast cancer include:
* a lump or thickening (a mass, swelling, skin irritation, or distortion) in or near the breast or in the underarm area
* a change in the size or shape of the breast
* a change in the color or feel of the skin of the breast, areola, or nipple (dimpled, puckered, or scaly)
* nipple discharge, erosion, inversion, or tenderness

For more information on Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging / Molecular Breast Imaging, call Beaumont’s Nuclear Medicine department at (248) 964-4870.

The Comprehensive Breast Care Centers at Beaumont Hospitals in Troy and Royal Oak are fully accredited by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers. They were the first breast care programs in Michigan to receive this prestigious accreditation by the NAPBC, a program administered by the American College of Surgeons.

In addition, Beaumont’s breast imaging services in Troy and Royal Oak are designated as Breast Imaging Centers of Excellence by the American College of Radiology.

Beaumont’s Comprehensive Breast Care Program offers an array of services, including, a high-risk evaluation clinic, multidisciplinary clinics, cancer resource center, genetics, infusion centers and lymphedema programs.

Beaumont’s comprehensive cancer program combines the expertise of Beaumont Hospitals with the knowledge and experience of physicians in the Beaumont Oncology Network, the largest group of oncology specialists in the state, to offer cancer prevention counseling, diagnosis and treatment in hospital and community-based settings. The Beaumont Cancer Institute is one of only 47 Community Clinical Oncology Programs in the country designated by the National Cancer Institute to provide patients with access to leading-edge cancer clinical research trials. Beaumont is designated as a Blue Cross Center of Distinction for the Treatment of Rare and Complex Cancers.


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