This article is from Dr. Robert Rowen's August issue of Second Opinion. It might be of interest. Note that this detection method is also available for PROSTATE CANCER.
Great Way to Detect Cancer Without a Biopsy
'Women tell me that one of the most excruciating pains they experience is having their breasts mashed during their regular mammography. It's brutal for most women. If you find this torture intolerable, then you'll be excited to learn about another alternative that could eliminate the need for mammography altogether.
I say another because I told you about one alternative several years ago. Thermography has proven its effectiveness through the years and is now used to help in pain management and other treatments. But thermography isn't your only option.
I'm happy to tell you about a major breakthrough that may put all other forms of early detection to shame. It can pick up most, if not all, cancers. And it can even spare you from unnecessary biopsies.
The breakthrough is PROTON MAGNETIC RESONANCE SPECTROSCOPY (MRS ). When combined with a non-X-ray scan called MRI, it can dramatically increase our ability to detect cancers and reduce false positives.†
You're probably familiar with MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). It's a popular scan for many tissues since it imparts no radiation, unlike X-rays (mammograms included). However, when it comes to breasts, it has a large false positive rate. It picks up a lot of abnormalities that don't turn out to be cancer. And this can lead to lots of unnecessary biopsies.
Currently, 80% of breast biopsies are benign. But biopsies are the surest way to diagnose cancer. Many breast lesions are benign hormonal changes that don't involve masses. Non-mass lesions can be cancer or benign. Standard MRI might not be able to differentiate between the two.
The new technique using MRS adds only about 10 minutes to the standard MRI. It enables the radiologist to see the chemical make-up of a tumor. Cancers contain a lot of choline compounds. A non-invasive way to detect choline would be a huge advance in avoiding biopsies of benign tissue.
One recent study detected 32 lesions. Fifteen had a positive choline finding, including all 12 cancers. So, the technique found three lesions that were suspicious that were not cancer. But it found all the cancers. That equates to being specific for cancer 85% of the time.
But more importantly, it was 100% sensitive. That means that it didn't miss any of the cancers. If the doctors biopsied only the lesions with positive choline findings, it would have spared 17 (53%) of the 32 lesions from invasive biopsies. And none of the cancers would have been missed.
This is wonderful news. I do get excited about technology that spares invasion and radiation. The method is already available for men for diagnosing prostate cancer (at the Center for Diagnostic Disease in Florida and University of California, San Francisco). I've always worried that biopsy can seed and spread cancer. And I'm not the only one.
One reporter asked urologist Ron Wheeler if prostate biopsy can spread PROSTATE CANCER. His answer: Absolutely! There was a study done (the reference eludes me) that demonstrated a risk of 10-20% for needle tracking of cells along the biopsy path. Patients and physicians should always consider carefully the risks and potential benefits before they perform a prostate biopsy.°
It's only logical that poking a hole through a tumor would allow easy exit of cancerous cells. So, this technology is a tremendous advance for women and men. If your doctor wants to do a biopsy of a possible tumor, ask about this technology. If negative, the odds of your lesion being malignant are remote. It could spare you the pain of a needle biopsy, 80% of which are negative anyway!
Yes detecting Cancers without biopsies is of great interest, but patients need biopsies as malignant tumours shed cells that can end up everywhere,
For now we could really use statistical studies to look at radiologists who perform biopsies & compare these against their patient’s survival times.
Radiologists have varying attitudes in their approach to these essential but invasive procedures, may there also be wide variations between those radiologists with a good standard of biomedical awareness & those without?
The bottom line is that for now Patients need biopsies carried out by radiologists with at least a basic understanding of the risk so preventative measures are taken seriously.
This important argument is often distracted as it is hijacked the quackery on-line from those with blind belief in totally unproven so-called cures backed up by conspiracies that drug companies are 100% staffed with evil people,
Greedy as they can be drug companies, are staffed by people who are affected by cancer just as you & I are,“Can anyone seriously come up with a reason why someone working at a drug company would sit back & let their family or friends suffer if they knew of a cure being suppressed?”
Stop quackery discrediting this important topic now - Research Medical Journals