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New Technology Helping To Diagnose Hard-To-Find Breast Cancer

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)--New technology is helping to diagnose hard-to-find breast cancer.

This technology was first used for looking at heart disease. Now it's been refined to detect breast cancer in certain women at Einstein Medical Center.

Tammy Lofton, 52,  has an increased risk of breast cancer, not just because of her  family history, but she also has dense breasts which makes it difficult to see cancer with traditional mammography, until now.

Molecular imaging makes finding cancer easier.

"This is a nice adjunct to mammography for women who cannot have an MRI who have dense breast tissue and need to have an additional screening test," said Dr. Debra Copit, director of breast imaging at Einstein Healthcare Network.

She says she's among 50 percent of women with dense breasts.

She was diagnosed  6 years ago even though the cancer didn't show up on a regular mammogram.

"I just had my regular mammogram, my yearly mamo and I also had this test done and when both were clear I felt much better " said Copit.

The molecular screening uses a lower amount of an injected nuclear radiotracer. Then a series of images are captured with a mammogram like machine.

"If there is cancerous tissue the radiotracer accumulates in there and then the images created and it will show up very bright for us to see," Copit said. "You can not see it on the mammogram even though this is 3D mammography."

The molecular screening is done in conjunction with mammograms and takes some extra time, but Tammy says it was easy and she got a good report, so signs of cancer.

"I think it's a fantastic," she says.

The new molecular imagine is covered by most insurance.


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