BAR HARBOR—A breakthrough study conducted last year confirmed that Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) can be four times as likely to detect breast cancer in women with dense breast tissue than mammogram alone. The study, published by the Mayo Clinic in the American Journal of Roentgenology, confirmed that MBI produced superior imaging for women with dense breast tissue.
Approximately 50 percent of women in the U.S. have dense breast tissue, which refers to the appearance of the breast tissue on a mammogram. “In mammography, non-dense breast tissue appears dark and transparent while dense breast tissue appears solid white,” explains Robin Fisher, director of Imaging Services at MDI Hospital. “Because dense breast tissue can be difficult to see through on traditional mammograms, it can make it harder to detect abnormalities.”
While a mammogram utilizes x-rays to examine breast tissue, MBI is a way of providing functional images of the breast using nuclear medicine. By utilizing a gamma camera and a radiopharmaceutical, the procedure is able to pinpoint molecular activity within the breast, which offers the potential to identify disease in its earliest stages.
MBI should not be considered a replacement for mammography or ultrasound, said Fisher, but it is an important detection tool in addition to mammogram for women with dense breast tissue and for those who are at a higher risk for breast cancer that cannot undergo MRI screening. The Breast Health Center at MDI Hospital is the only breast center in Downeast Maine to offer MBI and will soon be offering Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) as well, said Fisher.
For more information about MBI, contact the Breast Health Center at 288-8435.