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Advanced Breast Imaging

The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: May 14, 2003

ABI

MRI

An example of an image using an MRI, which uses magnets and radio waves to take pictures of the breast.

This pamphlet is designed to provide you with the information you need to decide if one of our research studies would be of interest to you.

Who is Eligible for Our Studies?

If you have had one or more relatives diagnosed with breast cancer, or have had breast cancer yourself you may be eligible for participation in a project that is looking at ways to detect breast cancer.

If you or your doctor has found a suspicious lump in your breast or if you have had a recent mammogram that showed a suspicious area and a biopsy is recommended you may be eligible for a trial of techniques to diagnose the abnormality.

If you have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer you may be eligible for a trial of techniques to determine the amount of cancer present.

If you are interested in high risk screening, please call 215.662.6081. If you are interested in diagnosing a lesion, please call 215.746.0352. If you are interested in staging an already diagnosed cancer, please call 215.898.0191.

Under the leadership and with the help of several experts in breast imaging, our breast imaging center has enjoyed tremendous success. We have revolutionized the field of breast imaging and continue to present our patients with the most recent options in diagnostic and treatment programs. Imaging modalities may include:

  • Digital Mammography
  • Ultrasound
  • MRI
  • PET Scan

An example of mammography, which is a form of imaging that takes pictures of the breast using x-rays.

Mammography

Imaging Benefits

Making medical pictures or images of the breast is very important to breast health. Images are used to detect and diagnose breast cancer. It is also known that breast imaging may help detect early cancers in the breast. If a woman is found to have breast cancer, imaging plays an important role in planning treatment by showing the amount of cancer in the breast.

The most common way to obtain breast images is mammography. Mammography uses x-rays to take a picture of the breast. Yearly mammogram screening is now recommended for all women over the age of 40. Studies have shown that adherence with mammogram screening can reduce the chance of a woman dying of breast cancer.

PET

A PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scan uses a sugar to "light up" cancer.

A Better Alternative

Although mammography is valuable, it is not perfect. There are many other ways to image the breast that have been developed. These include digital mammography, ultrasound (uses sound waves), MRI (uses magnets and radio waves), and PET (uses a labeled sugar to light up cancer). Although all of these new techniques have shown some promise, choosing which technique or techniques to use for each woman is confusing to doctors and patients.

The Advanced Breast Imaging (ABI) program at the University of Pennsylvania has been a leader in the development of many new techniques to image the breast. It has been funded by the National Cancer Institute to investigate these new techniques and clear up confusion about how they should be used.

Ultrasound uses sound waves to find areas of concern in breast tissue.

Ultrasound

In order to accomplish this goal, women with certain breast health issues are being recruited into a research study that involves getting multiple types of breast images in a single morning. The imaging examinations are free. Because the equipment used to take these images is very specialized, all of the exams will take place at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Information about you obtained from these research studies will be made available to you and your doctor.

If you are interested in high risk screening, please call 215.662.6081. If you are interested in diagnosing a lesion, please call 215.746.0352. If you are interested in staging an already diagnosed cancer, please call 215.898.0191.

PDF Advanced Breast Imaging as a PDF. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader which is available free online.