ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. – Feb. 7, 2012 – Albemarle Hospital now offers breast-specific gamma imaging (BSGI), advanced imaging technology to identify cancer cells in women with higher density breast tissue. Albemarle Hospital is the only facility in Northeastern North Carolina equipped with this technology.
According to Antonio Ruiz, M.D., a surgeon with Carolina Surgical Care and a member of the American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBS), women with higher density breasts are at greater risk for undetected breast cancer. BSGI technology is becoming a leading practice solution to this concern.
“Breast cancer is more difficult to detect in dense breast tissue, because cancer cells may be hidden in a mammogram,” Ruiz said. “Using a small amount of radioactive tracer, BSGI literally highlights cancerous cells due to their higher metabolic activity. Cancer masses will then glow brighter on the analyzed image.”
One woman who had benefited from Albemarle Hospital’s BSGI technology is 57-year-old Michelle Deppisch, of Herford. After her annual mammogram identified suspicious masses, Deppisch had a second and more detailed evaluation using BSGI technology. In addition to identifying the other masses as cancer, the BSGI results revealed a hidden cancerous mass near her sternum. Had that tumor gone undetected, she would have needed repeat treatments and may have experienced serious complications.
“I was relieved we found the mass because cancers that develop close to bones are more difficult to find and often aren’t discovered until they are in a more advanced stage,” Deppisch said. “Thanks to their state of the art diagnostic equipment, skilled radiologists and surgeons at Albemarle Hospital, I am well on my way to recovery.”
For offering the highest quality imaging and radiation safety, Albemarle Hospital has been recognized as an American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Center of Excellence.
“We’re committed to providing our community with the latest technology proven to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer,” said Sharon Tanner, President of Albemarle Health. “It’s one more way we’re ensuring our patients receive the best quality of care, right here in the area.”