Molecular breast imaging coming to New York

Rechilda Ichmat was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. She was biopsied three times and has very dense breast tissue, a problem 50 percent of all women have. But a relatively new way to screen known as molecular breast imaging, or MBI, helped doctors at Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre, New York, pinpoint the cancer. They sent her to a hospital in Connecticut because New York doesn't have the technology.

Dr. Conny Ha, director of radiology at Mercy Medical Center, says that's about to change. Starting in April, Mercy Medical Center will have the technology. Dr. Ha says MBI increases the breast cancer detection rate by nearly 400 percent.

"Until you can figure out a way to stop the disease cancer exists," she said. "The best we can do is detect early and save lives."

The technology is said to be less painful and more accurate in detecting cancer in dense breast tissue. MBI can also be used to track the effectiveness of chemo or radiation therapy.

Dr. Ha says that a study of nearly 2,000 random patients showed that mammography detected five cancers and MBI detected 23. No cancer was detected in the other patients. The machine expected in April will be almost four times more effective.