Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) Quadruples Detection of Breast Cancer in Women with Dense Breast Tissue

Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) could save your life if you have dense breast tissue.  New studies were recently released that confirms that it is nearly four times as effective in detecting breast cancer in women with dense breast tissue:    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150123101604.htm   NewTechnologySign I did not know this technology existed until about two months ago, even though it has been around for several years.  Not many hospitals have this technology.

On my Facebook page, I posted that Susan G. Komen of NW Ohio had grant money available in my area for uninsured or underinsured women for mammograms.  A friend saw the post.  Her husband lost his job, and they have been without health insurance for quite some time.  She had not had a mammogram in two years which greatly concerned her and found she was eligible for the mammogram.  At the small hospital where she had the mammogram, she was told she had extremely dense breast tissue. so they wanted her to go to a much larger hospital (Promedica Toledo Hospital) for Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) which would also be funded by Susan G. Komen of NW Ohio.

My friend went for the test not knowing what to expect other than she was told dye would be injected into her bloodstream and mammograms would be taken with the dye present in her system.   Here is a good explanation of what occurs:    https://www.karmanos.org/?id=517&sid=1

My friend said the test consisted of four images and each one lasted seven minutes.  She said the hospital staff did many things to make her as comfortable as possible.  She indicated that you sit for the test (some technology has you lying down), they had a television and reading material while the test was being administered to help distract you.   The Radiologist told my friend that the previous mammograms she had since age 35 were virtually useless in her case because her breast tissue was so dense.   The Radiologist saw “a small spot” on the MBI and immediately gave her an ultrasound.  She finally got the “all clear” and the Radiologist told her after the test was completed, that she would need Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) technology every year for breast cancer detection purposes.  My friend is so grateful that her care was not “short changed” because she was on a Komen grant.

In this video, Dr. Christine Granfield, a Radiologist, gives her view on Molecular Breast Imaging: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-1KIevhwao

So women with dense breast tissue, please take note of this test and pass the word to others!!  I’ve received so many emails from women with dense breast tissue that were not diagnosed until Stage 3 or Stage 4 because their tumors went undetected.  If you have ever been told you have breast dense tissue, I urge you to talk with your doctor and see if this technology is available near you.

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3D Mammograms,Tomosynthesis, and Dense Breasts

Reading this post about 3D Mammograms, Tomosynthesis, and Dense Breasts may save your life.

This new mammogram technology was only approved by the FDA in February, 2011.   http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/tomosynthesis/fda-approves-first-3-d-mammography-imaging-system

In one day, I heard from two women who had Tomosynthesis.   It probably saved their lives, and certainly gave them a much better chance of survival.  In their cases, they had to pay $50 and $40 more respectively in addition to insurance.  At my local hospital,Mercy St. Charles, Oregon, Ohio, they do not charge any additional, so check with your hospital.  So many women I hear from had lumps that were never discovered on a regular Mammogram.  By the time they were diagnosed, they were Stage 3 or Stage 4.  And over 40% of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer find their own lumps.  The cold, hard reality is that many , many women diagnosed with advanced breast cancer had nice little letters from their mammography center saying they were okay.

This story from Jane:

My breast cancer was found when I went for a routine mammogram and the woman at the front desk talked me into having a new test called Tomosynthesis.  Sometimes insurance doesn’t cover the additional costs, but my radiology center was offering it for $50.  The woman behind the desk reminded me that I would pay more for a pair of shoes, so I agreed to have it done.  Well guess what – nothing showed on the Mammogram, but there it was on the Tomosynthesis. That woman may have saved my life as my breast cancer was then caught early (Stage 1).

This story from Michelle from Iowa:

In the past, I got the regular mammograms, then Iowa Radiology changed to “digital mammography” several years ago.  The digital mammography always picked up things like calcifications, so every year for the past five years, I had to go back in for an unltrasound to check on something. 
This year, they introduced 3D mammography for the first time and I decided to do that and pay the extra $40.00 because I had learned that having dense breast tissue makes it very hard to see if there are any tumors in the breast.  Dense breast tissue appears white on the image.  Tumors also appear white so it can be very difficult to see a tumor. 
Even the 3D mammography did not show any tumors even though there were two tumors in the left breast (2cm and 1.8cm) very close to each other, but the Radiologist did see on the 3D mammogram a little “puckering” in one area. The doctor followed up on that, ordered an ultrasound and then a biopsy. That’s how they found the first 2cm tumor.  I later had an MRI (ordered by the surgeon prior to my lumpectomy)  which showed the 2nd tumor. 
Women with dense breast tissue should make sure their radiologist is looking closely for anything that might indicate a problem. 
I was diagnosed as Stage 2B (3 of 14 lymph nodes involved and tumor less than 5cm).

Since it is new technology, it can be difficult to find Tomosynthesis or 3D Mammography, however, more and more breast cancer centers are getting these new machines.  I would encourage you to find out where you can get this 3D Mammogram, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT YOU HAVE DENSE BREASTS OR DENSE BREAST TISSUE.  

On April 1, 2013, California became the fifth state passing a  law, which was bipartisan, that required patients to be told if they had Dense Breasts following Connecticut, Texas, Virginia, and New York.  Katie, one of my blog readers and a breast cancer patient, sent me this great information on Dense Breasts:

http://www.breastdensity.info/index.html

The only downside I can see to 3D Mammograms/Tomosynthesis is that according to USAToday, it has two times the radiation because it is like a CT Scan of the breasts.  http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/10/09/3d-mammogram-tomosynthesis/1615719/   There are pros and cons about this, but I will let you decide for yourself.   The stories of Jane and Michelle made me a believer.