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Combined PET/CT scanner may improve cancer treatment

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Breast cancer treatment could take a major step forward with the development of technology that combines two key imaging techniques, say US researchers.

The new device uses combined positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT) imaging.

The first scans from the scanner indicate that it could significantly improve breast cancer imaging capabilities and lead to more targeted treatment options, researchers said this week at the Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Research annual conference in New Orleans.

Study author Ramsey Badawi, assistant professor of radiology, University of California, Sacramento, said: ‘Using this non-invasive technology, physicians can get much more accurate images of tumors – especially small tumors – than conventional full-body PET scans. This will enable physicians to determine the stage of the cancer and determine courses of treatment more accurately.’

In addition, the technology could eventually be used to detect early whether drug treatments are effective in individual patients,’ he added.

The first patient to be scanned with the scanner was a 49-year-old woman with a palpable mass on her right breast. The scan accurately detected breast cancer, which was later confirmed by biopsy.

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