Karmanos Cancer Center First In Midwest To Offer Latest Molecular Breast Imaging

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Karmanos Cancer Institute. (File)

Karmanos Cancer Institute. (File)

DETROIT — The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center in Detroit is the first hospital in the Midwest to offer the newest molecular breast imaging device – GE Healthcare’s Discovery NM750b.

This molecular breast imaging technology makes it possible to detect breast cancer in women considered to be at high-risk, especially those with dense breast tissue.

“Although molecular breast imaging does not take the place of mammography, it offers another option for patients who need additional imaging, such as magnetic resonance imaging,” said Sharon Helmer, M.D., clinical service chief of the imaging department and director of the imaging department at the cancer center.

“The MBI system allows better detection of very small lesions in women with dense breast tissue,” said Helmer, who is also clinical associate professor at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. “Not only will this help eliminate false positives, it may help to detect breast cancers earlier when the disease is highly survivable.”

MBI looks similar to and replicates the views acquired by mammography but it does not produce X-ray radiation. The compression is approximately 30 percent of a standard mammogram.

Instead, MBI uses a nuclear isotope to detect tumors. The patient receives a small injection of a radioactive tracer that locates metabolically active tumors (showing blood flow.) The device uses solid-state cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) dual detectors that produce outstanding image quality and up-close positioning, allowing for increased imaging sensitivity right up to the chest wall. The patient can choose to sit or stand while the scanning takes place. Each image view takes up to 10 minutes.

MBI captures clear, precise images, even for those with dense breast tissue. Unlike MRI, MBI is safe for those who have pacemakers, metal implants or other foreign bodies, and patients with renal challenges. It’s also an option for those who are claustrophobic, have silicone implants, and for those whose weight or size exceeds the allowable limit for MRI.

For those with dense breast tissue, MBI’s innovative technology will help reduce false positives and will outperform standard mammography. In addition, MBI is cost-effective and can safely and efficiently monitor the patient to track treatment effectiveness and to detect any signs of disease reoccurrence.

“We are extremely happy to be able to offer this exciting technology to those in our community,” Helmer said. “MBI is one more powerful tool that will help us identify breast cancer early so we can provide the patient with the best treatment options and best outcome.”

GE Healthcare’s Discovery NM750b Molecular Breast Imaging is available at Karmanos Cancer Center’s Walt Comprehensive Breast Center in Detroit, making it the third location to offer this technology in the United States. GE Healthcare’s Discovery NM750b was first launched in globally in 2011.

“More than 1.2 million people annually are diagnosed with breast cancer worldwide,” said Nathan Hermony, GE Healthcare Nuclear Medicine general manager. “Since 1965, GE Healthcare has made significant progress in providing solutions for breast cancer detection and diagnosis that really brings a change to people’s lives. This technology is intended to improve early detection of breast cancer, especially in woman that are less likely to benefit from conventional mammography or who don’t have access to MRI, as in cases of dense breasts where imaging results may be inconclusive. At GE Healthcare, we believe early detection is critical for improving breast cancer survival rates.”

Under Helmer’s leadership, the Karmanos Cancer Center’s Walt Comprehensive Breast Center received the Breast Imaging Center of Excellence designation from the American College of Radiology. In 2011, the center performed 32,000 mammograms and 975 stereotactic and ultrasound-guided breast biopsies. Helmer and her team recognize the distinct needs of every patient and create an environment where each patient knows she, or he, is receiving the most comprehensive prevention and diagnostic services, and the best treatment possible.

For more information on breast cancer screening or other cancer services call 1-800-KARMANOS (1-800-527-6266) or go to www.karmanos.org.

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