When it comes to fighting breast cancer, mammograms are often considered the first line of defense. Yet, for many women, a mammogram may not be enough in detecting breast cancer. Because of this, doctors take a multi-modality approach to offer personalized care that fits the specific needs of the patient. In breast imaging, this means incorporating ultrasound, MRI, contrast-enhanced spectral mammography (CESM).
As a radiologist at Avera Health in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Dr. Josie Alpers has been using CESM in her practice for several years and calls it the “ideal problem-solving tool.”
Dr. Alpers recently saw a patient who had implants removed, but still had areas of silicone in her breasts, which looked like dense tissue on a mammogram. Both dense breast tissue and cancer appear white on a mammogram, so looking for cancer can be like looking for a snowball in a snowstorm.
“It was hard to figure out what was what,” Dr. Alpers shares. “However, with CESM, it was like turning on a light bulb. The areas of silicone became darker, and I was able to tell the patient with certainty that everything was okay.”
Performed as a follow-up to an inconclusive mammogram or ultrasound, SenoBright™ HD (CESM) from GE Healthcare highlights areas of unusual blood flow patterns. CESM offers a high level of confidence for clinicians and patients because it delivers clear image quality as the contrast agent highlights areas of unusual blood flow.
Another key advantage is that the exam can be performed in less than seven minutes – using the same mammography equipment, in the same room, with the same staff. Dr. Alpers and her team perform an average of six to eight CESM cases each day and have found it to be more comfortable and cost-efficient for the patient than MRI.
“I hope that more and more clinicians will use CESM. In our experience, it has high sensitivity and specificity, for a more accurate breast cancer diagnosis and helps to reduce false positives to avoid unnecessary biopsies,” Dr. Alpers concludes. “Patients are thrilled when they see the image; they leave with peace of mind and the confidence that they are okay.”