03 Dec GE Medical’s Technologies Aid Battle Against Cancer
WAUKESHA, Wis. – According to the American Cancer Society, one in three people will be diagnosed with some kind of cancer in their lifetime. In an effort to improve patient care and contribute to the battle against cancer, GE Medical Systems has developed innovative medical imaging technologies that are allowing physicians to better detect, diagnose and treat this deadly disease.
The latest cancer-fighting advancements from GE include: two digital X-ray technologies designed to help physicians detect lung cancer earlier; 3D digital mammography for more accurate breast cancer diagnoses that may reduce unnecessary invasive biopsies; and the rapid adoption and broader availability of an innovative PET/CT imaging system that allows physicians to locate and better understand the function of cancer in all parts of the body.
Improving Lung Cancer Detection – The #1 Cancer Killer
Currently, only 15 percent of lung cancers are detected in the early, most treatable stage. As a result, GE is unveiling two advancements in digital X-ray technology that are helping doctors detect lung cancer earlier.
Today, more than 90 percent of lung cancers are missed because they lie behind the ribs or bone and are very difficult to detect on a standard chest X-ray film. GE’s Dual Energy Subtraction, a new digital X-ray technology, can help doctors see these “hidden” lung cancers by displaying a digital image of only the soft tissue in the chest – without the bones – allowing doctors to better detect and diagnose lung cancer.
“Dual Energy Subtraction makes a significant difference in the evaluation and diagnosis of 15 to 20 percent of our cases,” says Dr. Robert Gilkeson, Assistant Professor of Radiology and Director of Cardiothoracic Imaging at University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “It is particularly valuable in distinguishing benign from malignant nodules, in addition to improving our analysis of other lung diseases such as asbestos plural disease.”
In addition, a new computer aided detection (CAD) technology, RapidScreen Digital CAD, works with GE’s digital X-ray system to assess chest images for 87 characteristics indicative of lung cancer. Even if doctors are reviewing images for pneumonia or a broken rib, the RapidScreen system highlights areas suspicious of lung cancer for further analysis – similar to the way in which a spellchecker is used for word processing.
Reducing Unnecessary Breast Biopsies — New 3D Digital Mammography
The new GE 3D Digital Mammography System is the first technology of its kind to produce 3D diagnostic images of the breast. These 3D images, which can be rotated and viewed in “layers”, are particularly useful in determining if a suspicious area is a cancerous mass, a benign mass, or simply a normal area of dense breast tissue. The 3D breast images provide doctors with a new kind of diagnostic information for identifying normal and cancerous structures, which means that some women who have a 3D digital mammography exam can be assured that they are cancer-free without the pain and anxiety of an invasive breast biopsy procedure.
An estimated 1.2 million breast biopsies are performed in the U.S. each year to determine if a mass is benign or malignant. According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 80 percent of these 3D Digital Mammography breast biopsies are negative.
According to Dr. Michael T. Nelson, Director of Breast Imaging Research and Associate Professor of Radiology, University of Minnesota, the ability to view 3D volumetric breast images could save thousands of women the pain and anxiety of a breast biopsy every year. “The 3D mammography images provide us with a more accurate way to evaluate suspicious areas, and the diagnostic confidence to avoid a breast biopsies in some cases.”
Innovative GE Discovery ST PET/CT System Becomes More Widely Available
GE reports that the Discovery ST is becoming more widely accepted and is providing physicians and their patients with a needed technology that can more accurately detect cancer and pinpoint its exact location in the body. Today, there are more than 34 Discovery ST systems in use worldwide, including five mobile systems in the U.S. By 2005, GE anticipates more than 200 units will be installed.
What makes the GE Discovery ST system so effective is that it integrates two technologies in one scanner — positron emission tomography (PET) and computed tomography (CT). It enables doctors to see the internal structures of the body (from the CT) and their metabolic activity (from the PET) – all in a single image. This information is particularly beneficial in the diagnosis of disease and treatment planning and monitoring.
Prominent clinicians at the world’s leading healthcare institutions report that GE’s Discovery systems significantly improve diagnostic accuracy. Research demonstrates that patient management is being changed in a significant number of cases because of the improved diagnostic accuracy of a GE PET/CT system.
“Discovery ST has improved our ability to deliver what referring physicians need: an accurate understanding of the presence or absence of cancer,” said Dr. Omer Macapinlac, Director, PET Section, MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, which was named the top cancer center in the United States last year by U.S. News & World Report.