Since the discovery of mammograms in 1969, screening technologies have become regularly used to detect masses in the breast -- many of which turn out to be cancerous.
Once a mass is detected, a biopsy may follow to determine if it is cancerous. Each year, 1.4 million women will need a breast biopsy. Now, doctors have a new way to take a biopsy that is more accurate than ever before.
With three sons, Daria Pistelli has plenty of men in her life. But, it's the women in her life that keep her concerned about her health. "My mother's mother died at the age of 32 of a female disease," Pistelli says. "Then my mother had breast cancer. Then, 10 years later, she got ovarian cancer."
Both Pistelli and her sisters know they are susceptible to the cancers, so when Daria's mammogram showed a spot, there was reason to be concerned. "They weren't really sure exactly what they were seeing. They were seeing, I guess, masses," she says.
To get a better idea, radiologist Jules Sumkin, D.O., of Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh, took advantage of an MRI-guided biopsy. He tells Ivanhoe, "We're using the MRI to find the lesion, tell us where it is in the breast, then the biopsy part is similar to other types of biopsies."
With the MRI's sensitivity, doctors can see masses mammograms can't. It can then be used as guide during the biopsy procedure. "The problem has been, you found something, what am I going to do about it? Well, now I know what to do about it. I can biopsy it," Dr. Sumkin says.
In just two days, Daria got the results of her biopsy. "It turned out to be OK. There was no cancer."