Women's Diagnostic Center

Positron Emission Mammography

Mary Nicholson

Positron Emission Mammography

Community Hospital continues to take a leading role in women’s care as the first hospital in the state of Indiana to offer advanced Positron Emission Mammography (PEM). The new equipment adds 3D imaging capabilities to the comprehensive breast cancer services available through the Women’s Diagnostic Center in Munster.

A high-resolution Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner is used to perform PEM, which shows the location as well as the metabolic phase of a breast mass or growth. The metabolic view allows the physician to make the optimal cancer care decision, for masses as small at 1.6 mm, the size of a grain of rice, by providing an unprecedented ability to distinguish between benign (non-cancerous) and malignant (cancerous) masses.

Except for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. The chance of developing invasive breast cancer at some time in a woman’s life is a little less than 1 in 8, or 12%.

This advanced technology has three primary benefits for patients diagnosed with breast cancer. First, with the PEM scanner, physicians can better determine if a patient is a candidate for breast-conserving surgery such as lumpectomy.

Second, knowing the exact location and extent of the cancer guides physicians during surgery and to help assure they remove all suspicious tissue. Third, the physician is also able to use PEM to monitor cancer treatment regimens or check for a recurrence of the disease.

Physician referral is required for PEM testing. To schedule an appointment or for more information about specialized women’s care programs and services offered at the Women’s Diagnostic Center call 219-934-8869.