Breast – specific gamma imaging – the gammagram – uses a radioactive injection that lights up tumor cells, which have high metabolic activity. Not enough studies have been performed to prove it saves lives yet but this could fast become a very helpful diagnostic tool when breast cancer is suspected.
Doctors are able to quickly and easily read gammagrams providing immediate diagnosis. This technique will not replace screening mammograms but will follow up on questionable results without undergoing a biopsy or waiting 6 months for another mammogram.
Michigan now has facilities with this new technology – Regional Medical Imaging in Flint,/Northern Oakland County and Visconti Imaging and Vein Institute in Petoskey.
The process is quick:
- the patient is injected with a radio active tracing agent, like what is used in cardiac stress tests.
- you can sit comfortably with no need for compression of the breast.
- the results are available quicker and the images are easier to read than other tests such as MRIs and mammograms.
The more information you can get before having surgery, the better it is for both the surgeon and patient. Ask your doctor about this new technology – be your own advocate!