PET image top left, MRI image top right, combined PET/MRI image bottom right
Breast cancer accounts for approximately 29% of newly diagnosed cancers for women in the United States. The vast majority of those afflicted are women with no past family history of breast cancer. While it is not possible to predict whether you will be affected due to hereditary conditions, our diagnostic imaging techniques have come a long way in helping doctors to diagnose sooner, effectively saving more lives.
A recent study finds a combination of Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans, called PET-MR, may provide more detailed imaging for use in the detection of cancerous tumors than PET/CT scans. The New York University School of Medicine performed a study on 51 patients to determine the ability for a PET/CT scan and a PET/MR scan to pick up on existing breast cancer lesions in other areas of the body. While the PET/CT images were able to pick up on 70 – 75% of distant liver metastases in afflicted patients, the PET/MR images picked up between 80 – 100%.
The significance of this difference is that the PET-MR images would have been able to draw attention to more cancerous lesions than the PET/CT alone, preventing the risk of overlooking hidden metastases and increasing the chances of removing all traces of cancer. With a high risk of cancer metastases, it is therefore extremely important that we are able to use the most sensitive equipment available to diagnose and assess the full extent of existing tumors.
PET imaging is provided by our highly trained team of radiologists, by having the patient ingest or inhale a radioactive tracer that collects in areas of the body with higher chemical activity, showing up brighter in those areas in resulting images. When combined with either CT or MRI imaging, we are able to view both the chemical activity as well as soft tissue function. The difference between MRI and CT imaging is the significantly lower dose of radiation given in an MRI as well as a higher contrast-to-noise ratio.
Independent Imaging is constantly looking for the next big thing in diagnostic imaging. Our board-certified, fellowship-trained radiology team is dedicated to providing you with the highest quality images from our state-of-the-art imaging equipment and procedures. While studies on the full benefits and drawbacks of PET/MR scanning continue to be performed, Independent Imaging will be keeping an eye out for our opportunity to offer you this highly sensitive new hybrid procedure.
For more information on the services we offer or the benefits of using PET imaging, contact one of our offices in Wellington, Belle Glade, Lake Worth or Royal Palm Beach, Florida. Call (561) 795-5558 or request an appointment online.