There are currently several new types of imaging methods that are being studied for use in evaluating abnormalities that may be breast cancers. Because this technology is still being tested, and researched, it is not yet available for commercial use. A few examples are:
Similar to a PET scan, scintimammography uses a radioactive tracer, which is injected into the patients. The radioactive drug attaches to breast cancer cells, and can be detected by a special camera. Current research into scintimammography is aimed at improving the technology and evaluating its use in specific situations, such as in the dense breasts of premenopausal women.
This is a technological extension to the already used digital mammogram. Tomosynthesis allows the breasts to be viewed as many think slices and has the possibility of providing more accurate, and earlier, diagnosis of breast cancer.
MRI-assisted Breast Biopsy
This new biopsy technique will make it possible to obtain tissue samples during a vacuum-assisted biopsy procedure with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-assisted guidance. This method allows many samples to be taken through a single small incision in the skin, using only local anesthesia. This biopsy technique is being studied in women with a personal or family history of breast cancer, those who have undergone previous breast surgery, and women with dense breast tissue who cannot get accurate screenings with tests such as ultrasound or mammograms.