breast cancer diagnosis system installed in Washington hospital
9 February 2005
CENTRALIA, Wash, USA. Providence Centralia Hospital is the first health
care facility in Washington to use breast specific gamma imaging — the most
technologically advanced method of detecting breast cancer that's presently
Also known as BSGI, breast specific gamma imaging is a useful diagnostic
technique when women have questionable mammograms. The method alleviates
long, emotionally trying wait times involved in the diagnosis process. BSGI
also can reduce the number of invasive biopsies.
"BSGI a is quicker, less emotionally trying and less physically traumatic
method of detecting breast cancer if a woman has a questionable mammogram,"
said John Viglo, manager of emergency and imaging services at Providence
Centralia Hospital. "Mammography does remain the primary method of early
detection, but BSGI is the best next step if mammogram results are unclear."
A questionable mammogram means that it's difficult for the physician to
conclusively diagnose cancer based on the image. Questionable mammograms can
result for a variety of reasons, including the presence of dense breast
tissue, scar tissue or implants.
Traditionally, if women have questionable mammograms, a radiologist
usually orders a follow-up mammogram — sometimes up to six months after the
original exam. The radiologist may also order a biopsy of the questionable
area. Biopsies are invasive surgical procedures that take time to analyze
and can leave scars.
Yet most abnormalities on a mammogram are not breast cancer, according to
the American Cancer Society. Before BSGI, women had to go through the
anxiety and fear of a follow-up mammogram and biopsy when often there was no
breast cancer present, Viglo said.
"With the BSGI, there's no more 'wait and see,'" Viglo said. "A
radiologist can immediately interpret results. Women who don't have breast
cancer don't have to endure the emotional aspects of follow-up mammograms
and biopsies, and women who do have breast cancer will know sooner and can
begin receiving treatment."
Unlike mammograms, which image the breast's structure and density, BSGI
provides a view of tissue at a cellular level. This detailed picture allows
for easy differentiation of cancer from other non-cancerous tissue in the
BSGI is performed using a special unit known as the Dilon 6800. A small
amount of tracing agent is injected into the patient's arm or foot, and all
cells in the body absorb the tracer. Because cancerous cells have a higher
rate of metabolic activity, the tracer concentrates in these cells to a much
greater degree than normal cells. The tracing agent emits invisible rays,
which allows the Dilon 6800 to detect cancerous cells. The technique can
detect small tumors and early-stage tumors that would be difficult or
impossible to read on a mammogram.
Other hospitals in Washington and along the West Coast are currently in
the process of purchasing the Dilon 6800.
Source: Providence Centralia Hospital
CONTACT: Stacie Beck, Public Relations, of Providence Centralia
Hospital, +1-360-330-8535 (office), or +1-360-330-3125 (pager), or