The unique contrast-enhanced mammogram helps to identify malignancies before visible on a standard mammogram.
Marking a new beginning in the diagnosis of breast cancer, a unique mammography system was inaugurated at Amrita Hospital, Kochi. The equipment operates with a 50-degree-wide-angle view that is contrast-enhanced for tomosynthesis and biopsy.
The newly launched technology will enable faster and more accurate stereotactic biopsies. It requires shorter examination time for breast cancer diagnosis and improves patient comfort and convenience, which will support early detection. It is the first-of-its-kind facility in Kerala.
The machine was unveiled as part of World Cancer Day activities organised at the hospital, and the event engaged patients, clinicians, and members of the foundations who diligently work together to bridge the cancer care gap.
The inauguration began with a puja performed by Swamini Karunamrita Prana, and was followed with a welcome address by Dr. Anoop R, Associate Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology. The afternoon session included a Q&A with survivors and experts to help understand the care gap and solutions to address it.
This device is the latest technology for early detection of breast cancer and has come into practice worldwide over the last decade. This equipment is a 3D technology that involves acquiring images of a stationary compressed breast at multiple angles during a short scan.
The single images are then reconstructed into a series of thin high-resolution slices that can be displayed individually or in a dynamic cine-mode. Contrast-enhanced 3D imaging and digital breast tomosynthesis offer many exciting opportunities, including reducing breast compression, improving diagnostic and screening accuracy, and applying 3D lesion localisation.
“We feel immensely fulfilled to be able to bring this specific type of mammogram, as it opens a new era in the world of cancer imaging diagnostics in this part of the country,” said Dr. Srikanth Moorthy, Professor and Head, Department of Radiology.
“The major advantage of this technology is that it helps to identify breast cancer before it is visible on a standard mammogram due to high sensitivity in detecting early lesions, and it can also be used as an alternative to MRI [Magnetic Resonance Imaging].”
While explaining the impact of such novel devices, Dr.Vijayakumar, Head and Professor, Breast Diseases Division, said: “Breast cancer is one of the most common malignancies afflicting women. Studies show that even younger women below 25 years need to examine themselves for early detection. In such cases, the technology helps penetrate dense breasts and identify malignancy.”
Some of the significant benefits of digital mammography are:
- Quick and easy procedure
- Less discomfort to the patient
- Higher accuracy, particularly for women aged 40 to 50 years
- Increase in detection of cancer in dense breasts, thus helps early screening in younger age groups
- Providing cost-efficient detection compared to MRI, thus helps avoid MRI scans unless more critical analysis is required
- All images are archived and stored digitally, hence loss or damage of films will not affect patient care during follow-up
- Since it is digital, it can be sent electronically to other centres for further opinions
- Storing digitally creates an enormous database, which is useful to teach and train the younger generation
Dr. Pavithran, Professor and Head of Medical Oncology, said: “The breast imaging services at Amrita have set high benchmarks in the industry for quality and reliability over the years. This machine is equipped with features like auto-stabilisation, which makes it easier to use, and will help reduce exam time and improve patient comfort.
“We have always been focused on ensuring the best treatment methods through a blend of the right approaches supported by research-driven data and knowledge alongside the precision of technology. The advanced contrast enhanced 3D imaging of the system will provide high-resolution images and can detect even the smallest of abnormalities. It is also highly affordable, making it accessible to a wide patient population,” he said.
The event was inaugurated by actor Tini Tom and Sethu, Scriptwriter cum Director, Malayalam Film industry. Dr. Anand Kumar A, Vice Principal of Amrita School of Medicine, gave the presidential address. Rotarian Vinu Vargheese, Assistant Governor Dist 3201; Rtn Arun Madhusudhanan, President, Rotary Club of Kochi United; Dr. Junaid Rahman, President of Cancure; Dr. Manzoor K, Butterfly Cancer Care Foundation; and Mr. Asanul Banna, Hope Child Cancer Care Foundation were also present during the event.
Annually, nearly 6000 mammograms with DBT and a minimum of 500 image- guided procedures are done at Amrita’s breast clinic.