DENVER (CBS4) – This month a Colorado hospital will offer two new technologies to fight breast cancer. One will improve detection while the other will improve treatment.
Doctors at Rose Medical Center say early detection is key when it comes to breast cancer. They believe the new advances will save lives and make treatment safer and more convenient.
Just the thought of a mammogram can be unsettling for women because the actual process uncomfortable. Still, mammography is one of the best tools for early detection of breast cancer.
“But it’s far from perfect and especially in dense breast tissue we miss cancers,” Dr. John Lewin at Rose Medical Center said.
Now Rose Medical Center is introducing stat- of-the-art technology.
“This is a huge, huge improvement over standard mammography,” Lewin said.
It’s called tomosynthesis — essentially 3D mammography. An X-ray tube moves in an arch around the breast. Instead of just two angles, it can photograph 15 different angles, giving doctors a much better look.
“Different levels of the breast come into focus at different times,” Lewin said. “We can see cancers on this that we can’t see on a regular mammogram.”
Tomosynthesis decreases the number of false positive callbacks and may require a little less compression, meaning less pain.
While diagnosis is improving at Rose Medical Center, so is breast cancer treatment with a clinical trial of what’s called “intraoperative radiation therapy,” or IORT.
“We can protect the lungs, the heart, the ribs,” Dr. Barbara Schwartzberg at Rose Medical Center said.
Instead of weeks of treatment, the patient gets one concentrated dose of radiation during surgery after the tumor is removed.
“So patients can save their breast, have a good lumpectomy, and radiation therapy all in one setting and then be done.
Schwartzberg believes the therapy shows promise for treating a number of cancers.
IORT is only for early stage breast cancer and patients who are at least age 40. Rose Medical Center will begin offering it at the end of October. Tomosynthesis mammography will start next week.