Recent research done at the Mayo Clinic on 940 women at high risk for breast cancer discovered 13 tumors in 12 women. Of these, MBI detected 10 of them, while mammograms detected only three. Two of the tumors were spotted by both MBI and mammography, leaving two undetected. The latter two came to light later, with the passage of time.
"We all know that mammography is, in and of itself, an imperfect tool, and we clearly need to do better in the future," said Dr. Eric Winer of the Dana-Farber Cancer Center in Boston, a spokesman for the study.
In addition to mammography's poor track record in dense-breast-tissue women, the procedure is plagued with false positives, leading to many fruitless biopsies. Breast cancer is the second-most common cancer in the world. (The most widespread is lung cancer.) Cancer of the breast is the world's fifth-most common cause of cancer mortality.