by Lauren Dubinsky
, Senior Reporter | March 24, 2017
Mercy Medical Center in New York is the first in the state to purchase the LumaGEM Molecular Breast Imaging system from Gamma Medica, a modality that is gaining traction as hospitals search for secondary screening tools for women with dense breasts.
Studies have revealed that between 40 and 50 percent of women ages 40 to 74 in the U.S. have dense breasts. To date, 27 states require some level of breast density notification after a mammogram.
Although mammography is the gold standard for breast cancer screening, it's not ideal for imaging dense breasts. Breast ultrasound, MR and MBI are being used as supplementary screening tools.
To educate women about breast density and alternative screening options, Gamma Medica launched its Be Certain educational campaign. It provides physicians, patients and caregivers the most accurate information.
A study published in
the August issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology
found that MBI detected 7.7 cancers per 1,000 women screened that were not found with mammography. About 85 percent of the cancers were detected at an earlier stage and resulted in a better prognosis.
Unlike mammography, tomosynthesis and ultrasound, MBI provides functional imaging that highlights metabolic activity in the breast regardless of tissue density.
During the procedure, the patient is injected with a small dose of a commonly used radiotracer. The patient is positioned on the LumaGEM MBI system the same way they would be with standard mammography.
Typically, two image views are acquired, which take 10 to 20 minutes each depending on the radiotracer used. The image is processed immediately and the radiologists can read it alongside the patient's mammography images.
“The acquisition of the Molecular Breast Imaging system will better enable the detection of cancer to save lives,” Ron Steimel, executive vice president and chief administrative officer at Mercy, said in a statement. “This is just the latest milestone in Mercy’s longstanding dedication to the fight against cancer.”
The LumaGEM MBI system has also been installed at Henry Ford Health System and Mayo Clinic Health System, among others.