Did you know roughly 85% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the condition? While certain factors place someone at a higher risk of developing breast cancer, women of all ages and backgrounds can benefit from regular breast exams. After all, the earlier breast cancer is caught, the higher the chance of survival.
Early detection of breast cancer is one of the main reasons why its mortality rate has dropped astronomically in recent years. Scientists are always looking for newer, more innovative ways to detect breast cancer through advanced imaging systems.
New Breast Imaging Tests
3D Mammograms, also called digital tomosynthesis, are becoming the industry standard for routine breast screenings. Unlike 2D tests, 3D tests offer more detail and can examine breast tissue as thin as one millimeter! 3D mammograms are performed similarly to 2D mammograms, compressing the breast tissue between two plates. During a 3D mammogram, however, several low-dose X-rays are quickly taken to piece together a detailed image of the breast.
Optical Imaging Tests are part of a new evolution of breast imaging. Requiring no radiation or breast compression, optical imaging tests pass light through the breast and measure the amount of light that returns. Ongoing studies are partnering optical imaging tests with other visual tests such as MRIs, ultrasounds or 3D mammograms for optimum breast cancer detection.
Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) is a new nuclear medicine technique that provides high-resolution images of the breast. It works by injecting a radioactive chemical into the bloodstream, and within 5 minutes post-injection, special cameras are used to create a functional image of the breast! These images can be used to determine if any tumors are present. Since MBI exposes the entire body to radiation, it is unlikely to be used for yearly screening. MBI is mainly being studied as a way to follow up on breast issues such as a lump or an irregular mammogram. It may also be especially helpful for imaging dense breast tissue.
Positron Emission Mammography (PEM) is a newer breast imaging test that has already been FDA approved. Working similarly to a PET scan, a PEM can detect small clusters of cancer in the breast. Like MBIs, PEMs also expose the entire body to radiation, so it is unlikely to be used in yearly screening.
Electrical impedance imaging (EIT) works based on the idea that breast cancer cells conduct electricity differently than healthy cells. The test passes a small amount of electricity through the breast and detects it on the surface of the skin. Unlike some other imaging tests, EIT does not require any radiation or breast compression. EIT has already been FDA approved to classify tumors, but there is not yet enough data on its functionality in breast cancer screening.
Earlier detection is on the rise due to new and experimental imaging tests. While studies are ongoing, the discovery and experimentation of new imaging services ensure a positive future for women’s health and the end of breast cancer!
Do you know how often you should be talking with your doctor about breast cancer screening?
Breast Cancer Screening Guide for Women
Ages 20-29: Clinical breast exam every one-three years
Ages 30-39: Clinical breast exam every one-three years
Ages 40-49: Mammogram and clinical breast exam every year
Ages 50-75: Mammogram and clinical breast exam every year
Ages 76+: Speak with your doctor to see if you should continue breast cancer screening
Women who have multiple risk factors for breast cancer may want to schedule screenings more frequently. All women should be familiar with how their breasts normally look and feel. Any abnormal changes should be reported to a trusted health professional.
Mission Search is looking forward to participating in PINKTOBER by sharing the most up to date features and facts regarding Breast Cancer Awareness! Check back with us every week in October for our blogs and social media posts containing regular updates on breast cancer news.