The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota has been working on a new type of x-ray to detect breast cancer. It is called mollecular breast imaging or MBI. With MBI the patient is given an intravenous dose of a tracer which lights up abnormal breast tissue. Special cameras then are used to identify the areas that are lit up.The Mayo Clinic recently issued its results of a study of MBI used to identify breast cancers in women with dense breasts. Cancer in dense breasts has been particularly difficult to diagnose with mammograms. Mammograms are the traditional method used to diagnose breast cancer. According to the study, MBI picked up many cancers that mammography missed. MRI has been used for many women with dense breasts but it has many false positives leading to unnecessary biopsies. Also, MRI is much more expensive than MBI. The only downside to MBI is that it generates more radiation than mammography, although researchers are attempting to resolve that issue.
The results of the MBI study will be presented soon at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Conference in Washington, D.C.
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