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Innovative imaging technology has increased the ability of The Breast Center at MDI Hospital to detect breast cancer in its early, most treatable stage.

The recently acquired Breast Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI) is a high-resolution camera used by breast imaging physicians at MDI Hospital when there is a questionable mammogram. “Although screening mammography has lowered breast cancer mortality by 30% over the last 20 years, it is not foolproof,” said John Benson, MD, FACR, Medical Director of Medical Imaging at MDI Hospital.
“Mammograms are very sensitive at detecting breast cancer but situations arise where additional imaging tests are needed,” said Dr. Benson. “This could be due to dense breast tissue in younger women or post-menopausal women using hormone replacement therapy,” he added. “There could be a new spot on a breast, or the woman or her healthcare provider may detect a new lump. If the mammogram does not give a clear answer, BSGI has emerged as an affordable next step in breast cancer diagnosis,” explained Dr. Benson.
BSGI is a nuclear medicine diagnostic test that can differentiate cancerous from non-cancerous cells performed under the direction of the nuclear medicine laboratory. The woman receives a very small tracer dose of radiopharmaceutical. Standard breast images are taken by a mammography technologist using the BSGI device that employs a highly sensitive detector to create images for physicians to interpret.
“Extensive research has established BSGI as a highly accurate imaging modality that goes beyond Mammography, ultrasound and MRI,” said Dr. Benson. “Breast MRI emerged about 10 years ago as the most sensitive method of detecting breast cancer. Recent clinical research shows BSGI is more accurate than MRI and far less costly.
“We are pleased to be the first site in Northern New England to introduce this technology. We anticipate utilizing BSGI to avoid unnecessary biopsies. We are also using this to resolve questionable mammography findings that would otherwise have led to a short-interval follow up,” said Dr. Benson. “This can give our patients immediate peace of mind instead of waiting six months for a follow up.”
“Adding BSGI firmly establishes The Breast Center at MDI Hospital as one of the foremost breast diagnostic centers in the region,” said Dr. Benson. “It is exceptional for a center of our size to offer state of the art digital mammography, stereotactic breast biopsy, accredited breast ultrasound, breast MRI and now BSGI.”
 For more information on the new Breast Specific Gamma Imaging, call The Breast Center at MDI Hospital at 288-8435.

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