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Cutting-Edge Breast Cancer Screening Technology Available to Patients at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC

Researched at Magee, Tomosynthesis Expected to Find More Cancers with Fewer False Positives

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 28, 2011 – The revolutionary three-dimensional mammography imaging technology known as tomosynthesis has been rolled out for clinical use at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC this month, bringing breakthrough breast cancer imaging to western Pennsylvania.

Tomosynthesis uses precise, 3-D digital imaging to create a complete reconstruction of the breast, which gives radiologists the ability to identify certain abnormalities which can be more difficult to detect with traditional 2-D digital mammography screening.

“Tomosynthesis gives us the ability to improve upon the limitations of traditional mammography, hopefully allowing us to find more cancers with fewer false-positives,” said Margarita Zuley, M.D., director of breast imaging at Magee. “This is the biggest advance we’ve seen in breast imaging in a long time, and we are excited to provide it to our patients.”

Initially, tomosynthesis will be offered to select patients who have a clinical complaint or whose traditional mammograms are inconclusive, requiring additional imaging, although Dr. Zuley hopes it will be available for more widespread breast cancer diagnosis and screening in the near future.

Much of the tomosynthesis research was conducted at Magee, and Magee researchers are the most widely published group in the U.S. on the technology. 

“Magee researchers have played a pivotal role in developing this technology,” said Jules Sumkin, D.O., chief of radiology at Magee. “The ability for us to now provide tomosynthesis to our patients represents an exciting example of bench to bedside medicine.”

Magee research has shown tomosynthesis screening significantly reduces false-positive diagnoses, limiting the number of additional workups and potentially unnecessary biopsies. Tomosynthesis may also be able to detect certain types of cancer lesions that are harder to detect on traditional mammography, particularly for women with dense breast tissue.

Tomosynthesis is currently available at the UPMC Magee Oakland and Monroeville offices and also will be available at Magee Breast Center at UPMC St. Margaret in early 2012.

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