Mater’s New Breast Cancer Scan To Save Lives


In March, Mater and Queensland X-Ray will launch new breast scanning technology, combined with a new risk assessment tool that will save Queensland women’s lives by discovering breast cancer much earlier, and providing them with breast cancer risk profiles.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Australia with more than 20,000 people diagnosed with the disease each year.

Managing Radiologist at Queensland X-Ray’s Women’s Imaging Centre Dr Kerry McMahon said Mater Hospital Brisbane’s new GE Pristina mammogram machine with contrast enhanced 3D mammography, can help diagnose cancers only previously seen on Breast MRI studies, or not appreciable in a dense breast on standard mammography and help diagnose breast cancer earlier and more efficiently.

“Traditional mammogram technology can miss certain breast cancers due to the density of the breast tissue or the position or histologic type of the cancer,” Dr McMahon said.

“Contrast enhanced 3D breast scans allow us to see cancers previously only seen on MRI and for those with claustrophobia and other difficulties accessing MRI, this is a great advantage.

“This early diagnosis is essential to give patients the best treatment options.

“The benefits of early diagnosis are immense. For example, finding small, early-stage cancers or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) gives women the chance of a complete cure.”

The new system, she said, would be complemented by the simultaneous implementation of an additional breast cancer risk assessment tool to generate a patient-specific profile of their future risk of breast cancer.

“The tool uses a combination of patients’ family and personal medical histories, as well as an understanding of their breast tissue density that allows us to provide them with individualised 10 year and lifetime breast cancer risk profiles,” Dr McMahon said.

“This increased understanding of individual patients’ risk profiles, combined with testing early and new technologies like contrast enhanced 3D breast imaging, will help us deliver the best possible patient outcomes.”

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