Blog: BUNNYpants and SIPPYcup - Eclectic Menagerie
by Aharleygyrl

Diagnosing Breast Cancer

Diagnosis Breast Cancer

Date:   9/28/2007 9:12:01 AM   ( 15 y ) ... viewed 3409 times

Breast Cancer In The 21st Century: Hope On The Horizon

  • Ultrasound is emerging as a diagnostic technique that, when used by an experienced radiologist, can pick out tumors too small to be seen on mammograms. It can also help distinguish between fluid-filled cysts and the more ominous solid mass. It is usually performed if there are suspicious findings on a mammogram, especially in women with very dense breast tissue. When used in conjunction with mammography the cancer detection rate increases from 70% to 94%.
  • TC-99 tetrofosmin is another new diagnostic imaging technique for women with dense breasts. This test received FDA approval as a diagnostic tool in 1999. It has the capability of finding masses and determining the presence of a malignancy, even in dense breasts, about 90% of the time.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses high radio frequencies and a special dye to produce breast images based on water content. It appears to be effective in detecting invasive lobular carcinoma, a form of cancer that is hard to detect with mammography. More research is needed before efficacy can be completely determined but, for now, it is a promising technique on the horizon.
  • Positron Emission Tomography reveals the metabolic processes of cells by using a radioactive agent to highlight tumors. Radioactive estrogen can give important information about the estrogen receptors on the cancer cells. This information has huge ramifications for treatment options, especially in cases of metastatic disease. At this time, scanners do not have the ability to detect small tumors or in situ disease.
  • Thermography (also known as DII), a possible alternative to mammography screening, is being used by some chiropractors in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is based on the principle that chemical and vascular activity is higher in the areas surrounding both precancerous and malignant cells. This higher activity leads to higher temperatures in these areas. DII uses ultrasensitive infrared cameras to detect and analyze these hot spots. There is a great deal of interest in this technique because if it works it could eliminate many of the uncomfortable aspects patients associate with mammography e.g. the machine does not touch the body so breast compression is not necessary. It is done without radiation and, theoretically, it can find cancers at a much earlier stage of development than mammography is capable of doing. Experts differ on the clinical ramifications of DII and most insist that until more is known about its effectiveness, DII should not be used as the sole diagnostic tool but should be used in conjunction with traditional mammography. However, many researchers are excited about the possibility of using DII in the future to diagnose breast cancer in its earliest stages of formation where successful treatment is more likely.
  • BreastScan IR   In March 2004, the FDA approved a new screening device that uses digital imaging to aid in the early diagnosis of breast cancer. The BreastScan IR can draw attention to potential areas of concern that might not be detected by mammography or ultrasound. The procedure takes about ten minutes and the results are immediately available to the physician. The breast is not touched during the procedure so no pain is involved. The device is considered an adjunct to regular mammograms and breast self-exams. It is not intended to function as an independent diagnostic tool.

It is easy to see the mainstream touch in this website, because look at the following statement:

Even with all of these new and potentially better detection techniques described above, mammography in combination with monthly self breast exams and annual clinical breast exams still remains the best form of early detection available to date.

Eventhough there are better techniques, they still push the mammogram!

I saw on the CNN headline news many years ago a machine used to detect breast cancer that never touches the breast and was better than mammography machines at detection.  It was being used only in Japan at the time.  When I saw that, I vowed never to get a mammography with the machines we have that compress breasts.

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