New scanner boosts breast-cancer tests
"Duke University scientists have built a new type of breast scanner that they say is better at finding small tumors than standard breast-cancer screening, while exposing patients to less radiation. And the new scanner does all that without having to smash a woman's breasts as a traditional mammogram does. The new Duke device is a computerized tomography, or CT, scanner powered by potent gamma radiation. It produces a three-dimensional image that does not require flattening the breast and produces a clearer image of suspicious masses.
Physicians widely acknowledge that mammograms are not good at spotting tumors in women with many glands and connective tissues in their breasts, a description that applies to about 40 percent of patients. Also, women with breast implants typically cannot be scanned with a mammogram. However, The Duke scanner would have to be used on large numbers of patients in a long-term clinical trial and produce excellent results to win approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and wide use by physicians. "