A device that uses electricity to map possible breast lumps may reduce the number of women who get unnecessary biopsies because their mammograms are unclear, the The Food and Drug Administration said April 19. American women undergo 30 million mammograms a year. The breast X-ray is the gold standard in detecting breast cancer, particularly early tumors.
Mammograms often clearly show which breast lesions should be biopsied immediately. But they also can be ambiguous, leaving a doctor in doubt as to whether to do a biopsy immediately, or to wait six months and X-ray again.
Some 800,000 biopsies are done every year, from which 180,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. The rest are benign lumps. So scientists have hunted ways to reduce unnecessary biopsies without missing women who have cancer. Some doctors use ultrasound machines that use sound waves to picture lumps as an addition to the mammogram's X-rays. The T-Scan 2000 is another alternative. It uses electricity to create a map of the breast.
A one-volt shot of electricity is sent into the hand, where it travels through the body into the breast. A handheld probe is moved over the breast, where it measures the electrical conductivity of breast cells. Cancer cells conduct much less electricity than healthy cells -- so when the probe flashes its findings onto a computer screen, possible tumors show up as bright white spots.
TransScan's studies suggest that adding the electricity test for women with ambiguous mammograms can improve diagnostic accuracy and lower unnecessary biopsies by about 20 percent.
Dr. Mercola's Comment:
The T-Scan should be used only in women whose doctors cannot decide about ordering a biopsy based on other standard procedures. It seems to be a nifty application of using bioelectricity to enhance diagnostic capabilities. The new scan should add less than $100 to a woman's exam.
I do not know when or where this scan will be available but a quick visit to the Internet search engines on my site should easily locate those details for you.