FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Screening mammography has helped reduce deaths from breast cancer by nearly 40 percent in the last 30 years, but the diagnostic tool has also been enhanced to help uncover cancers that might otherwise go undetected.
Sara Callari, 52, has known for years that a strong family history put her at high risk for breast cancer.
”And I took that to heart and I was very vigilant. So, I was on the six months plan. I would get an MRI and a mammogram, six months MRI, six months mammogram,” Callari said.
In 2015, Broward Health radiologist Dr. Michael Alboucrek, suggested she undergo a contrast enhanced mammography.
”I was one of the first in the country to get a unit and I believe we’re still one of the first in Florida and I’ve been doing it for years,” Alboucrek said.
The process begins with an injection of contrast dye with iodine prior to the mammogram to enhance the image and illuminate areas that otherwise might go undetected.
”It’s a technique that’s been used before in interventional radiology and we said, ‘Let’s try it in the breast’ and it works great,” Alboucrek said.
Callari’s contrast enhanced mammography was done just weeks after an MRI came back clear and Alboucrek found a small but fast growing lesion.
”I am so incredibly thankful every day because had I waited until the next follow up, I would have been much more advanced,” Callari said.
Six years later, she continues to share her experience with others, hoping to raise awareness about the potential benefits of contrast enhanced mammography.
”The progress that has been made in breast cancer diagnosis is tremendous, so any time there’s something new that you can use you need to try it especially when you’re nervous you’re going to hear those words one day,” Callari said.
Because it’s so precise, contrast enhanced mammography helps eliminate unnecessary biopsies and also serves as a pre-surgical diagnostic tool when a lesion tests positive for cancer.