Mammogram is an excellent and traditional technique for screening breast cancers. It is considered best for annual breast screening throughout the world even today. MRI is another tool which is used as an adjunct to mammography. Though MRI is more sensitive in detecting cancers than mammography, it is more expensive and time consuming.
With advancement in nuclear imaging technology, Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) and Breast Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI) have evolved complimentary to Mammography. These recent diagnostic imaging techniques are used in place of MRI for patients with more dense breasts and metallic implants. MBI and BSGI use different technologies even though the results shown by both are same. MBI utilises Dillon 6800 gamma camera which helps physicians evaluate accurately and differentiate between benign and malignant cancers. Lesions measuring 3mm in diameter are easily detected by gamma cameras. Researchers at Mayo Clinic developed duel head gamma cameras which can detect lesions of 1.6mm in size using less radiation exposure. This proved to be a great achievement as the nuclear breast imaging requires more radiation dose than mammogram.
A study from Mayo Clinic compared MBI and Mammography. It was found that the sensitivity of mammography and MBI together is much higher than individually. A survey conducted by the clinical experts of Mayo Clinic also found that MBI individually could diagnose more tumours than mammography. MBI and BSGI complement mammography and give accurate diagnosis with patients having dense breasts, implants, palpable lesions and clusters of calcifications. Compared to all the other traditional methods these show lower false positive rates.
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