Mercy Medical Center gets new breast cancer imaging tool

Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre is the first hospital in the state to have a new molecular breast imaging, or MBI, machine.



Radiology director Dr. Conellia Ha says MBI is used in addition to mammography because it provides a more detailed image. Both cancer and dense tissue show up as white on a mammogram, and Ha says that can make cancer hard to detect.



During an MBI exam, the patient is injected with a small dose of a tracer drug that accumulates in cancerous areas. Special scanners in the machine then take digital images.



The machine has been at Mercy for about a week, but it's already been used on a handful of patients, and more appointments are scheduled.



Experts say the machine, worth about a half-million dollars, will increase breast cancer detection by nearly 400 percent.



Doctors say the MBI exam has so far been covered by insurance companies. The out-of-pocket expense would be less than $500.


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