Breast Care 2,001

By, Michael E. Hall, R.N.

New hope for breast cancer? According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 1.38 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed during this current year in the United States. With an incremental rise of 2 percent each year, they predict for the year 2,001 over 2 million new cancer cases.

As cancer rates continue to rise, where will technology be?

The answer is a surprise donated by Dr. Susan J. Blumenthal, in the office of Women's Health, U.S. Public Health services. New promises of cancer cures won't come from futuristic technologies given by some benevolent ET, but from such U.S. government agencies as the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Defence (DOD), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The CIA's newest covert activities include early detection of breast cancer. What better troops to advance our cause in a war we're losing, says Dr. Blumenthal, also Assistant Surgen General, in the Public Health Service war room, espionage technologies are at least ten years ahead of any currently available in the medical feild... We've put probes into space, on Mars, with technologies that can detect atomic structures on distant planets; why can't these secrets held by NASA, DOD, and the CIA, paid for by the public, be used by the general public?.. Then, in a short amount of time, we've gone from spotting hidden enemy missle silos at 20,000 feet to spotting possible breast malignancies with such advances as 3-D MRI.

In the past a few physicians claim MRI to be much too sensitive, but breast cancer experts point out, that there are cases of axillary node-positive malignancy mingled with breast tissue that appears to be normal, and here is where the clinically advantageous MRI's sensitivity does its best. Treatment for axillary node-positive malignancies is usually masectomy - often bilateral. MRI detection of a lesion in the breast opens up other treatment options.

Other treatment modalities a sensitive MRI can potentiate, is providing necessary information for the patient trying to decide on the correct therapy for her disease, cite breast cancer experts. For instance, an easilly identifiable breast lesion can be treated satisfactorilly with lumpectomy. However, if other lesions are present in other areas of the breast, this treatment would no longer be the best option available.

RODEO (Rotation delivery off-resonance), 3-D MRI, which is a high resolution 3-D image using contrast enhancement, introduced by Dr. Steven Harms', research team in the Image Research dpt., at the university of Arkansa for Medical Science in little Rock, AK. With the new methods, RODEO dynamic MRI, whole breast images are possible, and with fat (a lot of breast tissue is fat in older women) surppression the sensitivity accuracy, to date is as high as 100 percent.

RODEO pluses:
*Fibroadenomas show a different and easilly identifiable signal intensity
contrasted to regular breast tissue in 85 percent of cases.
*Consistant MRI images demonstrate a majority of carsinomas are
predominately irregular. In contrast, 65 percent of an edge to edge enhancement MRI can differentiate malignancy from fibroadenoma, which often has well defined borders.

With help from the Department of Defence technology and research funding of over 550 million dollars since 1993 for breast cance programs, we've went from smart missles to smart breast cancer computor programs

Case-based reasoning. A type of artificial computor intelligence that learns and reasons from experience. The computor reveiwed 200 real cases, initially with a 72 percent accuracy, as it gained experience accuracy went to 84 percent.

Computor assisted MRI is excellent for differentiating begnin from cancerous tumors. And too, when several studies consistantly show human error in false-negative mammograms as high as 40 percent, an impartial computor, that never experiences fatigue might be the expert needed for the decision making process.

Computor Aided Diagnosis (CAD) systems like ImageChecker(tm), by R2 Technology, is already available in Europe, and breast mammograms using CAD systems may be FDA aproved and available in the U.S. this year.

Attatched to artificial intelligence, and 3-D imaging, is also 3-D iltrasounds, full feild digital spot biopsy systems, and MR-Guided core needle breast biopsy.

An institution with a stereotactic biopsy unit can reduce the average delay od 123 days down to a month or less for a woman with an abnormal mammogram. Though a month of fear and doubt isn't a great thing, it beats the livin- daylights out of a wait of four to... mounths for an answer and therapy.

As alternatives to stereotatic units, other institutions save their patients medical costs with emerging technologies that include ultrasound-guided core biopsy. Vast improvements in mobile radiology units make them comparable to fixed units. And with some space age advances such as satelite uplinks, tellemammography can reach most rural areas.

The emergence of a huge dark monolith isn't a signal that 2,001 has begun, but Sci-fi style holographic doctors with artificial intelligence might be! Hubble telescope technology from NASA and tellemammography, transmitting breast images holographically to world class experts in breast cancer anywhere on the planet, by remote computor in the feild.

PET (Positron Emmision Tomography), has gotten in on the space age act. A computor-based nuclear imaging technique, not normally used for breast cancer screening, is now being used to detect tumors, or the spread of malignancy to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body. PET may replace some biopsies by imaging estrogen receptors, or used to tract the effectivness of chemeotherapeutic agents.

What's new on the horizon? Let us advance the notion that if ET arrives, they may not be here to give us new technology, but to get ours!

Where is this headed? According to Dr. Blumenthal, there is no imediate target to hit. This is an all out war to the end. Eradication of cancer.

For more information about cancer topics you may contact the American Cancer Society web site

The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, is a grass-roots network of individuals and organizations, their web site is

Or contact Cancer Information Service, a National Cancer Institute web site

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