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New Tool Helps Fight Breast Cancer

March 1, 2010, 6:13 PM by Kelli Grant

New Tool Helps Fight Breast Cancer
SIOUX FALLS, SD - When it comes to finding and fighting breast cancer, technology is key. And women have more opportunity now for detection than ever before. A newer way to detect the disease is helping doctors deal with questionable cases.

It's reassurance for a woman who's suspected of having breast cancer. Breast Specific Gamma Imaging is a new tool in the fight against the disease.

Today women not only have mammograms, ultrasounds, and breast MRIs.  Now a machine called Breast Specific Gamma Imaging is helping in the fight against cancer. And it's helping Avera McKennan Radiologist Dr. Patrick Nelson find answers sooner for some difficult cases.

"Findings that are unclear, dense breasts, unexplained symptoms," Nelson said.

BSGI is a metabolic test. Using radioactive material that circulates through the body through an IV, a mass will literally glow and is clearly identified.

"A picture is worth a thousand words and when you look at the screen, you can see it's obvious there's a focal abnormality," Nelson said.

The test would only be used after a mammogram, the standard in detecting breast cancer. And Nelson says while the images look different, BSGI is a viable alternative to a breast MRI.

"The BSGI exam takes a lot less time. We like it because the data matches up with the mammogram exactly. MRI is incredible and it's a fantastic test, but it's much more difficult and actually expensive test than this," Nelson said.

Avera McKennan has been using the tool for almost a year, and Nelson's been incredibly happy with its results. It's not only finding cancer, but ruling out the disease completely.

"I've had those cases where women are very concerned, very dense breasts, we can't see anything, we've done an ultrasound, we've done all kinds of exams and we do this exam - it's negative, very reassured. I don't feel worried at all waiting six months to a year to have them come," Nelson said.

You can learn more about BSGI online.

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