Send to

Choose Destination
Can J Surg. 2010 Aug;53(4):268-77.

Technology as a force for improved diagnosis and treatment of breast disease.

Author information

Department of Surgery, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, Ont., Canada.


Increasing numbers of women are seeking evaluation of screen-detected breast abnormalities, and more women with breast cancer are living with the consequences of treatment. Improved technologies have helped to individualize diagnostic evaluation and treatment, improve efficacy and minimize morbidity. This article highlights some of these technologies. Superior imaging techniques have improved breast cancer screening and show promise for intraoperative surgical guidance and postoperative specimen evaluation. Digital mammography improves the sensitivity of mammography for women younger than 50 years with dense breasts, and tomosynthesis may improve specificity. Magnetic resonance imaging provides sensitive delineation of the extent of the disease and superior screening for women with a greater than 25% lifetime risk of breast cancer Minimally invasive techniques have been developed for the assessment of intraductal lesions, biopsy of imaging abnormalities, staging of the axilla and breast radiotherapy. Ductoscopy facilitates intraductal biopsy and localization of lesions for excision, sentinel lymph node biopsy is becoming standard for axillary staging, and intraoperative radiotherapy has the potential to reduce treatment time and morbidity. Three-dimensional imaging allows correlation of final histology with preoperative imaging for superior margin assessment. Related techniques show promise for translation to the intraoperative setting for surgical guidance. New classifications of breast cancers based on gene expression, rather than morphology, describe subtypes with different prognoses and treatment implications, and new targeted therapies are emerging. Genetic fingerprints that predict treatment response and outcomes are being developed to assign targeted treatments to individual patients likely to benefit. Surgeons play a vital role in the successful integration of new technologies into practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for The Canadian Medical Association Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center