The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center in Detroit now offers the newest molecular breast imaging device, the GE Healthcare Discovery NM750b. This molecular breast imaging (MBI) technology makes it possible to detect breast cancer in women considered to be at high-risk, especially those with dense breast tissue.

“Although molecular breast imaging does not take the place of mammography, it offers another option for patients who need additional imaging, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI),” said Sharon Helmer, MD, clinical service chief, imaging department, and director, breast imaging, Karmanos Cancer Center; and clinical associate professor, Wayne State University School of Medicine. “The MBI system allows better detection of very small lesions in women with dense breast tissue. Not only will this help eliminate false positives, it may help to detect breast cancers earlier when the disease is highly survivable.”

MBI looks similar to and replicates the views acquired by mammography but it does not produce x-ray radiation. MBI uses a nuclear isotope to detect tumors, according to GE. The patient receives a small injection of a radioactive tracer that locates metabolically active tumors. Unlike MRI, MBI is safe for patients with renal challenges and for those who have pacemakers, metal implants, or other foreign bodies. It is also an option for those who are claustrophobic.