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Breast Cancer Awareness Month Offers Exciting News of New Techniques for Measuring Breast Density

 

 

By Kathy Sena

Two new studies have tested three different methods for accurately measuring breast density, the relative portion of tissue to fat in a woman's breasts and a strong indicator of breast-cancer risk.


Both studies were conducted by a group of medical physicists at the University of California, Irvine and were presented recently at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) in Philadelphia.


The first study compared two existing techniques for measuring breast density: cone-beam computed tomography (CT) and breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Both techniques gave highly similar estimates of breast density. The second study showed the promise of a third technique, called dual-energy mammography, for measuring breast density.


"A better measure of breast density should yield a more accurate assessment of risk for developing breast cancer," says medical physicist Justin Ducote, who presented the work on dual-energy mammography in Philadelphia.


Doctors have known since the 1970s that women who have dense breasts are at greater risk for developing breast cancer. Tumors may be more difficult to detect when imaging dense breast tissue, since they have a greater portion of glandular tissue relative to the amount of fatty tissue, and the glandular tissue can obscure tumors.


"Measuring breast density is difficult as there is no gold-standard method for doing so," says Ducote.

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Pouches' Community Corner

This month Pouches learned about a very important resource for families who have lost loved ones to sudden tragedy, an organization called LLOST.

keepsake box

The foundation has helped 44 hospitals in 22 states through their Treasured Memories program. The program sends nurses to bereavement training, and provides or supplements the $55 memory boxes that include clothes, booties, handknot blankets, pictures, foot prints, hand prints, clipped hair and other mementos.

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