London, Ont. researchers are first in North America to use new breast cancer test

FILE. St. Joseph's Health Care /

Researchers at Lawson Health Research Institute in London, Ont., say they are pioneering the use of a “novel diagnostic imaging tool” that may detect breast cancer faster and more accurately.

The researchers say the first-ever breast biopsy using “Contrast-Enhanced Spectral Mammography” or CESM in North America was performed on June 12 at St. Joseph’s Health Care.

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According to a release, researchers will now be seeking 50 participants to further study the technology, which is said to be faster, more comfortable, more accurate, and more cost-effective than an MRI biopsy.

CESM is a “novel diagnostic imaging tool” that researchers say can detect cancerous lesions at a greater rate than standard mammography and at a rate close to an MRI.

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The arrow points to a suspect lesion. via Lawson Health Research Institute

The method involves injecting a patient with an iodinated contrast liquid, which acts as a dye “that enhances the visibility of certain tissues during a radiographic imaging procedure,” like mammography or an x-ray.

Compared to an MRI biopsy, which researchers note can involve long wait times, if a suspicious lesion is found, then a CESM guided biopsy allows for a biopsy to be performed using mammography.

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“This new approach has the potential to provide rapid and accurate access for patients and reduce costs. With CESM biopsy technology we are also able to perform biopsy of lesions that are located in areas that MRI guided biopsy cannot reach,” said Dr. Anat Kornecki, a scientist at Lawson and radiologist at St. Joseph’s.

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“Our initial experience has been very successful, and we hope to see an impact on patient care as well as breast cancer outcomes.”

Patients with suspicious lesions will be asked if they want to participate in the study and researchers anticipate that they’ll have recruited a total of 50 participants within the next 18 months.

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