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Advances in breast imaging

Updated: May 01, 2010


Although mammography remains standard for breast cancer screening, several newer technologies are helping to fine-tune diagnosis.

Doctors have been making radiologic images of women's breasts for almost a century. The first, taken in 1913, were x-rays of breasts that had been surgically removed. In studying these early images, doctors found that they could distinguish malignant from benign tissue, even when cancer hadn't been suspected. Here was a possible alternative to the then-standard detection method — removing a palpable lump (if not the entire breast) and examining the tissue under a microscope.

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