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Curr Treat Options Oncol. 2005 Mar;6(2):135-45.

Incorporating new imaging models in breast cancer management.

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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 675 North St. Clair St., Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA.


Mammography is the only screening test proven to decrease breast cancer morbidity and mortality. Although mammography is an effective screening tool, it does have limitations, particularly in women with dense breasts. New imaging techniques are emerging to overcome these limitations and enhance cancer detection, improving patient outcome. Digital mammography, computer aided detection, breast ultrasound and breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are frequently used adjuncts to mammography in today's clinical practice. Recent studies have shown that these techniques can enhance the radiologist's ability to detect cancer and assess disease extent, which is crucial in treatment planning and staging. Positron emission tomography (PET) also plays an important role in staging breast cancer and monitoring treatment response. Other modalities such as tomosynthesis and MR lymphangiography show promise in overcoming the problems related to dense breast tissue and the lack of noninvasive methods to assess lymph node status. Imaging-guided, minimally invasive therapies are also emerging as alternatives to surgical biopsy for breast lesions. As imaging techniques improve, the role of imaging will continue to evolve with the goal remaining a decrease in breast cancer morbidity and mortality.

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