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Hospital physician receives award for breast cancer study

New Britain [May 01 2009] - An unprecedented, award-winning study led by a Hospital of Central Connecticut (HCC) radiologist shows measurable value of a gamma imaging test over ultrasound in detecting breast cancer as a follow-up to a mammogram.

In April, HCC radiologist Jean Weigert, M.D., received the 2009 Breast Journal Abstract Award at the American Society of Breast Disease 33rd Annual Symposium for her abstract, Breast-Specific Gamma Imaging (BSGI) Compared to Breast Ultrasound in Patients with Mammographic Abnormalities Requiring Diagnostic Evaluation.

The study used data accumulated from 2005-07, including data gathered at the hospital’s Bradley Memorial campus. The study found that compared to ultrasound imaging, BSGI provides more sensitivity in the ability to locate an abnormality and is more specific in findings for breast cancer and other abnormalities, says Weigert. Data compared results of 70 patients who had both BSGI and ultrasound tests. The tests, which also included biopsy, were conducted based on mammogram results.

This was the first study comparing breast ultrasound to BSGI results for cancer diagnosis.

BSGI can distinguish non-cancerous or benign tissue from cancer and locate lesions as small as two to three millimeters. Among women who would benefit from BSGI tests, Weigert says, are those with dense breasts, more common in premenopausal women. “A BSGI study I previously presented to the Society in 2007 found that if the BSGI test is negative, there’s only a 2 percent chance that anything in the breast is cancer,” says Weigert.

BSGI studies used the Dilon 6800 Gamma Camera, the only FDA-approved BSGI unit. The non-invasive test is similar to a mammogram but uses less compression. Before imaging, patients received an intravenous radiotracer dye. The dye reveals as a bright spot during the test if cancer is present since the dye is more easily absorbed by cancer cells, which have a higher metabolic activity.

“I was delighted to get the award and very surprised,” says Weigert. “It’s one more example of why BSGI is such a good tool in the work-up of the problematic breast.”

Weigert’s study was one of three to receive an award at the symposium in Chicago. She plans to conduct a follow-up study will write an article based on initial findings for The Breast Journal.

For breast cancer patients, The Hospital of Central Connecticut now offers a breast cancer program aimed at helping patients get streamlined, fast-tracked care backed by clinical expertise and support. The program includes Nurse Navigator Donna Boehm, R.N., M.S.N., M.P.H., who helps patients navigate the healthcare system from diagnosis through treatment. For more information, please contact Boehm at (860) 224-5900, X6307.

Contact: Kimberly Gensicki, 860-224-5900, x6507

HCC Corporate Communications
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