New technology may reduce number of biopsies


by KING 5 News

Posted on May 28, 2014 at 4:37 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 28 at 5:52 PM

Researchers are studying a new way to tell whether a mass in a woman's breast is cancerous without having to use a needle.

About 1.7 million women have a breast biopsy done each year. The invasive and painful test comes back negative about 60 percent of the time.

Roz Sobel needed a distraction after a mammogram a few months ago showed a lump. That distraction comes in the form of a grandchild, especially Kadin.

"I am blessed by all my grandchildren, but this one's got me," Sobel said.

The mammogram result was a scary moment for a woman whose mother, grandmother, sister, cousin and niece all had breast cancer.

"My family has a horrible history," said Sobel.

Usually women like Sobel need a painful needle biopsy to determine if a lump is cancerous. But she took part in a clinical trial testing a new technology called opto-acoustics.

"The though is that this will help us determine what's cancer and what's not cancer," said Dr. Paulette Ledba, a breast radiologist at The Cleveland Clinic.

An ultrasound with a laser is used to look at the blood pattern in the lump. It's essentially a blood map for doctors. Benign breast masses usually have different blood patterns than malignant masses.

Studies have shown the technique could reduce the number of biopsies by 40 percent, which was music to Sobel's ears.

It turns out, Sobel's lump was caused by a dog jumping on her, not cancer.

"They knew right then and there that it was from a dog," she said.

Now she can focus on keeping up with her grandson.

With the opto-acoustics technology, there's no radiation, no needle, no pain and no risk to the patient.

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