Best of Breast: news for week ending 22 August 2014

Updated 16 September 2014

The weekly summary of medical news developments for Breast Cancer and Cancer for the week ending 21 August 2014.

This post focuses on screening.  Call it coincidence, but there were three articles on different ways to screen for breast cancer, this week.  The first is a trial into using dogs to sniff out breast cancer. I’ve covered dogs being used to sniff out cancer in previous posts, but this time, scientists are finally testing this on breast cancer.  Perhaps one day the gold standard in screening could be a golden labrador!

Dog

Dr Claire Guest and Daisy Photo: Janine Warwick

Item number 2 is a study that shows that MRIs are more accurate than ultrasound and mammogram in detecting recurrent tumours.  I wonder how MRIs compare to Pet-CTs in terms of radiation exposure.  There is no ionizing radiation in an MRI.  The dose for a typical PET-CT scan is 25 mSv for a 70-kg person.  The dose for a mammogram is 0.4 to 0.7 mSv.  The PET-CT gives 625 times more radiation.  CT scans alone produce 7 mSV, 10 to 15 times the dose of a mammogram.

RadiationDoseChart

From http://xkcd.com/radiation/. With thanks to Steve for this chart.

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Hallwang Clinic #4 – German efficiency in action

Still stunned from the first day’s revelation that the cancer may have metastasised I was told I had to have a Pet scan the next day.  You can imagine the state I was in that evening.

German efficiency took over.  The next morning, I was woken up at 6.30am, and half-asleep and clutching a packed lunch that was prepared by Tanya of the clinic’s kitchen, was whisked away in a very swish Mercedes taxi to the Paracelsus Hospital in Ruit.  The taxi driver, Patrice, spoke very good English and apparently was going to see me through all the preparations for the Pet scan which was a relief as I didn’t even know what the German for Pet scan was.

Paracelsus hospital

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