A new technique, Molecular Breast Imaging or MBI, is now offering a new option for detection of breast cancer in women with dense breast tissue. MBI is a non invasive procedure that helps in detection of small breast tumors, which sometimes appear similar to dense breast tissue.
Jamie Surratt, MD, Radiologist Baptist Medical Center, spoke about difficulties experienced during differentiation between small tumors and dense tissue. She said "It's really hard to look for a small tumor that's also going to be white, which is what dense breast tissue appears.” As for MBI, Dr. Surratt said "I think the breakthrough is that it's so different than all of our other tools."
During MBI procedure, a radioactive isotope is injected into the patient. This substance concentrates highly in areas where cellular energy associated with cancer is found. This makes identification of tumors very easy, as they appear as dark spots. Dr. Surratt spoke about the isotope. She said "It's able to help us differentiate things that we might otherwise have to biopsy."
There are a few facilities that offer MBI procedures throughout the United States. The procedure is carried out within 45 minutes for both breasts and it delivers a little more radiation than conventional mammography. There are current studies that try to find new options to reduce radiation doses delivered during MBI.