Working with a team of physicists, Dr. Deborah Rhodes developed a new tool for tumor detection that’s 3 times as effective as traditional mammograms for women with dense breast tissue. The life-saving implications are stunning. So why haven’t we heard of it? Rhodes shares the story behind the tool’s creation, and the web of politics and economics that keep it from mainstream use.
About Deborah Rhodes
Deborah Rhodes is an expert at managing breast-cancer risk. The director of the Mayo Clinic’s Executive Health Program is now testing a gamma camera that can see tumors that get missed by mammography.
For all of the lives it saves, mammography still cannot detect the early onset of breast cancer in as many as one of every four women ages 40 to 49. And women with dense breast tissue are four to six times more likely to develop cancer than others. Deborah Rhodes and her colleagues at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota think they’ve found an effective way to screen these high-risk patients: molecular imaging.
Rhodes, who specializes in evaluating and managing breast cancer, is collaborating with a nuclear physicist and various radiologists on a dual-head “gamma camera” that can capture the tiny tumors in dense tissue. The new technique, which would complement (not replace) mammography, is sensitive enough to pick up a mass two-ﬁfths of an inch in diameter. Molecular breast imaging requires patients to be injected with a radioactive drug, but it is much more comfortable than the vise-grip mammogram and is expected to cost only slightly more.
(This material taken from the TED website. It’s very important information and I wanted to share it with my readers.)