Shouldn’t there be a less invasive way to see breast abnormalities? CTLM®, an exciting new way of looking at breast abnormalities, may be the answer. CTLM® stands for Computed Tomography Laser Mammography and is a method of looking at the blood flow to the breast. Since newly forming tumors have increased blood flow, CTLM® may be the answer to imaging angiogenesis which can be hidden in routine mammography specifically with the dense breast patients. In addition, the CTLM’s laser is not impeded by dense breast. And unlike other modalities such as Breast MRI, a contrast agent is not needed with the CTLM®.
Breast Density has a major impact on cancer detection statistics (medically referred to as Sensitivity and Specificity). Depending on the literature, 40-50% of the world’s female population has breast density that significantly reduces the Radiologists ability to see and detect cancer. Higher breast density has been proven to be associated with a higher risk of breast cancer. It was found that the rate of breast cancer was almost four times greater in those with extremely dense breast tissue as opposed to those with fatty breast tissue.
It is important to remember that mammography is limited when detecting breast cancer in patients with dense breasts. One of the major unique benefits of CTLM® is its ability to image normal and abnormal vascularity in dense breasts. A study in China showed results of more than double (70%-80%) sensitivity in detecting lesions in extremely dense breast compared to mammography alone (30%-40%). And when the results from mammography and CTLM® were combined the sensitivity rose to over 95% in extremely dense breasts.
The patient lies comfortably in the prone position with one breast suspended in the scanning aperture. A laser beam sweeps 360 degrees around the breast while the data acquired is processed and reconstructed into Multiplanar and 3D images of the breast. The examination does not require breast compression or contrast injection.
The CTLM® system images the angioegenic blood supply by detecting the presence of increased hemoglobin in the imaging field. This increase of hemoglobin known as angiogenesis is used as an early indication of cancer. Additionally, since there is no radiation, high-risk or patients with abnormalities could be imaged more often to decrease the patient’s anxiety and increase the doctor’s chance of early detection of breast abnormalities.