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Salem Radiology medical director Dr. Robert Hannon shows a molecular breast imaging system to Senator Kelly Ayotte. 

New imaging technique available in Salem helps with breast cancer detection

SALEM — Salem Radiology, in conjunction with Parkland Medical Center, is now the first radiology center in New England to offer a new breast cancer diagnostic technology that helps improve the diagnosis and treatment of women with dense breast tissue.

The Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI) system from Salem-based Gamma Medica is a secondary diagnostic tool that is highly sensitive in its ability to detect breast cancer lesions as small as three millimeters, according to Salem Radiology Medical Director Dr. Robert Hannon.

“I’ve been a big advocate of molecular breast imaging for a long time,” said Hannon. “Thanks to Parkland Medical Center and Gamma Medica, we have been able to make it happen.”

Dense breast tissue and tumors both appear white on a mammogram, limiting the detection of suspicious areas of the breast. There are other methods of detecting breast cancer in women with dense breast tissue, but Hannon said those methods can be time consuming, uncomfortable for women, and difficult to interpret.

“With Gamma Medica and molecular breast imaging, it is simple and does not take a long time, and the sensitivity and specificity are terrific,” said Hannon. “I love having this technology here, and we’re going to see it at many more sites. I think this technology is going to explode in this country, and frankly, worldwide.”

On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., was among those who took part in an open house at Salem Radiology on Stiles Road.

In July, Ayotte and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation that would improve breast cancer detection by mandating that mammogram reports in all states include whether a woman has dense breast tissue.

“It is interesting to hear about the cutting edge tools that can help more women with early detection,” said Ayotte.

With better detection techniques such as MBI, Ayotte said breast cancer can be detected earlier, especially in women with dense breast tissue.

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