Each year, more than 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. Mammograms are still the standard test for detecting breast cancer, but the test misses about 10 percent of cancers and is especially ineffective in young women. Now, a new test may help those who don't benefit from a mammogram.
Like many people, Janet Gemmiti has been touched by breast cancer. "My mother is a breast cancer survivor, and I have a couple of close girlfriends that also are breast cancer survivors," she said. Because of that, Gemmiti is diligent when it comes to her own health. "I have two other sisters, and so we do go for our mammograms on a regular basis."
Now, Gemmiti is doing her part to help with future methods to find breast cancer. She's taking part in a study of a new device that sends electricity through the breast and measures the speed it travels. While doctors can't explain why, they know breasts with cancer conduct electricity differently.
Dr. Kurtzman is one of the researchers involved in the ongoing study. They hope to confirm the results of an early study in 400 women. "It showed one important thing," Dr. Kurtzman says. "That is, if this test said there was no cancer, there was only one person who actually had a cancer that this missed."
For now, experts recommend women aged 40 and over get a mammogram every year. Dr. Kurtzman points out that the new test could also be used as a screening tool for women in rural areas who don't have access to mammograms.
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