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Home News and Update Archives Ultrasound can be Utilised to detect Breast Cancer

Ultrasound can be Utilised to detect Breast Cancer

Express Buzz
23 Feb 2009

Ultrasound has a negative connotation in India, mainly because of the ubiquituous ‘ultrasound clinics’ that are used for sex determination tests.

But ultrasound can also be put to good use, like early detection of breast cancer.

There is little awareness about breast cancer in India.

Doctors say that women above the age of 30-35 years should conduct regular check-ups to detect breast cancer, including self-examination, mammography (using x-rays to detect tumours) and ultrasound. Mammography cannot detect a tumour easily in case of dense breasts. “This is where a technology called elasticity imaging can make detection easier,” says Nita Mhatre, Business Head of ultrasound for South Asia Cluster, Siemens Healthcare. She is in the city to market Siemen’s elasticity imaging technology.

Consider the fact that 13 percent of all American women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. The statistics for Indian women is unclear, but clearly there is a need to safeguard against malignant tumours through regular check ups, maintains Nita. When a tumour is detected, a biopsy is conducted to determine whether it is benign or malignant. A benign tumour is a lump of tissue that is not harmful, whereas malignant tumours are cancer causing. Biopsies are often painful because a needle is inserted to check the type of tumour. The need for a biopsy can be reduced by using elasticity imaging.

“Ultrasound alone could miss a tumour, but elasticity imaging will not. In fact, the need for biopsies may be eliminated in the future,” says Nita.

Siemens is selling an ultrasound machine called Acuson Antares, which is embedded with ‘eSie Touch,’ the trade name for Siemen’s breast elasticity technology. The technology can enable doctors to differentiate the relative stiffness of tissue. Harder tissues are usually malignant while softer one’s are benign.

The first Acuson Antares machine in Andhra Pradesh has been purchased by Dr. T L M Prasad. Elasticity imaging can also help to image dense breast lesions that can get missed out in a mammography scan. “We need to build up awareness among women about breast cancer so that early detection can be incorporated into the medical regimen, and we are offering the early detection technology,” says Nina.

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