New scans improve treatment accuracy

Australian doctors say they have developed new scans that can that quickly show whether breast cancer cells are responding to therapy.

After a six-year trial, doctors at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center say the scans can improve treatment and "buy valuable time for breast cancer sufferers by abandoning ineffective treatments in the early stages."

The newspaper said the PET (positron emission tomography) scans reveal the information within weeks, instead of months using conventional CT scans.

"Normally we have to wait for months before a CT scan will start to improve," Rod Hicks, head of molecular imaging at the center, told the newspaper. "With this treatment we know that if it hasn't responded quickly, it's not going to respond and we can move on and try something else."

Researchers said conventional CT scans show only the structure of cancer cells, but PET scans reveal the physiology of tumors and allows doctors to localize treatment to the exact site of the cancer, the newspaper said.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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