Date: 1/22/2013

New Technology offers Higher-Resolution Breast Cancer Detection

At the Women’s Diagnostic Center, advanced Positron Emission Mammography offers higher resolution, 3 D imaging capabilities to better detect earliest stage breast cancer.

Community Hospital continues to take a leading stance 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.

“We are excited to introduce this revolutionary technology to better care for our patients,” said Mary Nicholson, M.D., fellowship-trained, dedicated breast radiologist at Community Hospital and regional director of breast imaging services for Community Healthcare System. “Identifying new or recurrent breast cancer at the earliest stage possible gives each patient the best chance of a superior outcome. With this sophisticated technology, we have the ability to better determine if cancer is present or not. Unlike mammography, 3D tomography, ultrasound or MRI, this technology will demonstrate how tissue behaves to determine whether it is cancer behavior or normal breast tissue behavior,” Nicholson said.

A high-resolution Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner, called Naviscan® is used to perform PEM. PEM scanners are high-resolution breast PET systems that show 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 percent.

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.

Earlier this year, Community Hospital was designated a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology. The Breast Imaging Center of Excellence (BICOE) designation is awarded to breast imaging centers that achieve excellence by seeking and earning accreditation in all of the ACR’s voluntary breast-imaging accreditation programs and modules.

Additionally, the Center successfully passed the ACR Breast MRI accreditation process. The Breast MRI is the most recently established of the ACR accreditation programs, having only launched in May 2010. Community Hospital is the first hospital in Lake County, Indiana to earn this distinction.

Community Hospital’s Women’s Diagnostic Center offers same-day results of high-quality screening and diagnostic services to help detect breast cancer at its earliest stages. Staff members include a team of highly trained, licensed technologists, certified breast health navigators and dedicated breast radiologists who perform the highest standards of diagnostic breast care and treatment.

For more information about specialized women’s care and the programs and services offered by Community Hospital in Munster, click here or call the Women’s Diagnostic Center at 219-934-8869.