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Editor's e-Note
The question of how to best screen women with dense breasts has been an ongoing debate among experts. As with any controversial or new topic without a scientific consensus, the best one can hope to do is gather as many data as possible in order to advise and treat patients in as informed and effective a manner as possible.

This month’s E-News Exclusive focuses on recent developments in this medical puzzle. At the 10th European Breast Cancer Conference, held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands from March 9 to 11, researchers presented the findings of an Italian trial that found that including either ultrasound or tomosynthesis with mammography resulted in the detection of breast cancer in women that may have otherwise been missed. In fact, according to researchers, of the approximately 3,000 women with dense breasts in the trial, ultrasound and tomosynthesis combined to detect 24 instances of breast cancer when the initial mammograms came back negative.

As the researchers readily admit, however, this information is not without its drawbacks, as there is also an increased risk of false positives, which could lead to an increase in undue stress and burden on the patients. Researchers also acknowledge that more research will be needed.

Still, this study is another piece of the puzzle and another step in the direction of a medical consensus. And that’s not a bad thing.

— Tony Fioriglio, editorial assistant
e-News Exclusive
Trial Finds Ultrasound, Tomosynthesis Detect More Cancers in Dense Breasts

Adding either tomosynthesis (a form of 3D mammography) or ultrasound scans to standard mammograms can detect breast cancers that would have been missed in women with dense breasts, according to an interim analysis of a trial comparing these two additional screening technologies.

In more than 3,000 women with dense breasts where standard mammograms had not detected any cancer, the addition of tomosynthesis or ultrasound scans picked up an extra 24 cancers, according to a presentation made at the 10th European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC-10).

Nehmat Houssami, MBBS, FAFPHM, FASBP, MPH, MEd, PhD, a professor of public health at the University of Sydney in Australia, representing the Italian trial, said that, until now, there had been no prospective trial comparing the addition of ultrasound or tomosynthesis with standard mammograms in these women.

Full story »
In This e-Newsletter
Worth Repeating
“If you are a young woman who was treated with radiation therapy to your chest as a teenager or child for [Hodgkin’s lymphoma], or for that matter chest radiation therapy for any reason, you should be having a conversation with your family doctor or your oncologist about whether to start breast cancer screening earlier than most women would.”

David Hodgson, MD, MPH, FRCPC, radiation oncologist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and a professor in the department of radiation oncology at the University of Toronto on the results of a study that found that early breast cancer screening in women that were treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma with chest radiation as youths led to fewer cancer fatalities
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Until recently, most interventional radiologists—like most of their physician colleagues—were not very interested in or concerned about the cost of providing their services. However, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act enacted in 2010 and other health care market reforms have changed that, as government and private payers are exploring new systems of health care delivery and payment that reward coordination of care while minimizing resource use. Read more »

Developing Thermal Ablation
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Contrasting Views
With FDA approval for the use of contrast-enhanced ultrasound limited to echocardiography, physicians and radiologists in the United States are turning to “off-label” uses to come up with clearer views of more than just a patient’s heart. Read more »

C-Arm Choice
When a facility considers adding C-arm equipment, consideration must be given to cost, space, and the frequency that the equipment will get used. Read more »
Other Imaging News
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Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University say they may have developed an imaging technique that can detect prostate cancer more effectively than any test currently available.

Study Finds MRI Safe, Effective for Patients With Implantable Cardiac Devices
MR imaging appears to be safe and effective for patients with implantable cardiac devices, according to a group of cardiovascular imaging specialists at Allegheny General Hospital.

Functional MRI May Aid in Development of Painkillers
Functional MRI may be an effective tool for researchers developing and improving the effectiveness of pain medication, according to the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

Head Scans Suggest Head Trauma May Cause Plaque Buildup
Head scans of a small cohort of individuals found that both individuals that had suffered traumatic brain injury or had Alzheimer’s disease had similar deposits of plaque in their brains, according to American Academy of Neurology.
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