WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- Debbie Miller a breast cancer patient says BSGI or gamma imaging was a life saver for her. The technology takes a different approach to diagnosing breast cancer at its earliest stage. It is a molecular breast imaging technique, which is able to spot tumors even mammograms may miss.
Traditional mammography found cancer in Debbie's left breast but not the right breast. Debbie was treated at George Washington Breast Care Center. Dr. Rachel Brem the director of the center has been using and researching gamma imaging for 14 years.
"It asks the question how does breast cancer function different then the normal surrounding breast tissue. We use this in newly diagnosed cancers and we know that in 10-percent of women who have a newly diagnosed cancer we will find a second cancer that we had no idea was there, either in that breast or the other breast," Dr. Brem tells us.
Gamma imaging works by injecting a radioactive dye called a tracer into the patient's arm. Images are then taken of the breast and examined by a doctor.
Dr. Brem says, "then what you see is somewhere between 4 to 8 images and sometime a few more that the cancer can easily be identified as a black spot on a white background."
Unlike mammography gamma imaging is pain free and is extremely helpful in diagnosing at risk women like Debbie.
"I just finished up the last of my treatment in February of this year so I am completely done," Debbie happily shares with us.
Dr. Brem says they are not only finding cancers earlier but cancers they simply wouldn't know about without BSGI.
Mammography remains the gold standard for breast cancer diagnoses but gamma imaging is FDA approved and covered by insurance.
Click here to learn more about gamma imaging or BSGI.