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February 14, 2014 06:17 PM

Technology To Diagnose Breast Cancer

Sioux Falls, SD

Just ask Mary Pasch, hearing you have a suspicious area in your breast is concerning. The Sioux Falls woman has had four mammograms in a year.

"It was to the point where something had to be done to find out what it was," Pasch said.

Especially because Pasch could now actually feel a lump, but mammograms were inconclusive about whether or not it was cancer.

"That's a very small minority of all the breast cancers, but it's an important thing that women understand that feeling something is still important," Avera Medical Group Dr. Josie Alpers said.

Now there is a new way for doctors to determine whether suspicious areas, like Pasch's, are cancerous. Avera has a new type of technology, called Contrast Enhanced Spectral Mammography, or CESM.

"CESM found 80 out of 80 cancers. The MRI found 77 out of 80 cancers," Alpers said.

CESM is not only proving to find more cancers, but it's also been very accurate at showing if suspicious areas are not cancer. That way they don't have to have a biopsy.

"Most women are going to have something in their breasts that is at some point a little suspicious. We want to find things to find out is it cancer or is it a benign tumor, a benign cyst--something that is not cancer. You don't need to worry about it," Alpers said.

The new technology is also very accurate at showing the size of a tumor.

That's helpful in determining surgery and treatment options. Still, Doctor Alpers emphasizes that this new technology does not replace your regular mammogram.

"A standard mammogram without the IV is the standard across the U.S., but if there are any questions or concerns, this is another imaging tool that looks extremely promising," Alpers said.

A tool that Pasch is very thankful for. Her screen showed that she's cancer-free.

"It was awesome. It was a relief. It was a massive relief," Pasch said.

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