Advanced viz: Augmenting oncology

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Detecting cancer is perhaps one of the most powerful applications of non-invasive diagnostic imaging. The capability to catch a cancer early in its development can truly be life-saving medicine, and with the added benefit of advanced visualization technology, a clinician’s interpretive skill can be even more powerful.

Coupling the strength of MRI with mammography delivers much more might to the provision of breast cancer screening surveillance in high-risk women—those individuals carrying the breast cancer susceptibility gene 1 (BRCA1), BRCA2 or TP53 gene mutation.

Using analytic tools, such as subtraction, multiplanar reconstruction, maximum intensity projection from subtracted images and dynamic analysis of the 3D dynamic series, U.K. scientists have been able to garner critical diagnostic information from MR breast studies.

A retrospective analysis of MR images conducted during the U.K. MRI in Breast Screening (MARIBS) trial found that when clinicians use MRI in screening high-risk women for breast cancer, small, enhancing lesions may not exhibit classic malignant features and, thus, the threshold level for recommendation of a biopsy should be lowered.

Almost on the opposite side of the geographic world, a team of Taiwanese scientists have conducted ground-breaking research into the possibilities and potential of CT gastroscopy, or virtual gastroscopy (VG). Although gastric cancer is one of the least common cancers in North America, it is the eighth leading cause of cancer death in the United States—and it is the second-most common cause of death due to cancer in Asians from China, Japan and Korea.

Early detection and treatment is crucial for an optimal outcome; patients with gastric ulcers are encouraged to have endoscopic and histopathologic follow-up until their ulcers have healed to ensure they are not malignant. However, endoscopy is an invasive procedure that many patients take great pains to avoid. VG, according to the multi-disciplinary team from Taiwan’s Kaohsiung Medical University, offers an alternative with outcomes that nearly equate to the capabilities of depicting malignancy with conventional endoscopy.

If you or your group is interested in finding out more about the capabilities of advanced visualization technology, and how it can extend and expand the reach of diagnostic imaging service lines, head over to our Healthcare TechGuide and check out the variety of systems offered there.

Lastly, if you have a comment or report to share about how the utilization of advanced visualization technology is changing your practice, please contact me at the address below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Jonathan Batchelor, Web Editor