This new technique is called single-step Raman spectroscopy algorithm, which involves shining light onto breast samples and measuring the scattered light to determine the presence of cancer in the tissue. Single-step Raman spectroscopy algorithm could “shorten procedure time; reduce patient anxiety, distress, and discomfort; and prevent complications such as bleeding into the biopsy site after multiple biopsy passes,” said Ishan Barman, Ph. D., postdoctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and study’s lead author.
Single-step Raman spectroscopy algorithm could save the U.S. health care system $1 billion a year by conservatively preventing 200,000 repeat biopsies each year. Currently, x-ray mammography is the only accepted screening method, but this technique cannot determine if microcalcifications (microscopic areas of accumulated calcium) are associated with benign or malignant breast lumps. So, most patients undergo a biopsy to determine if these microcalcifications are cancerous. But, in about 15-25% of biopsies this technique fails to retrieve any microcalcifications. Then, this requires the patient to undergo repeat and often surgical biopsies. In the United States, 1.6 million breast biopsies are performed each year and about 250,000 of those biopsies result in new breast cancer diagnoses. Yet, if single-step Raman spectroscopy algorithm was used this could improve the precision of diagnosis and could better detect the disease at early stages without the use of multiple biopsies.
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