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New Technology To Help Detect Breast Cancer

Westlake Village, CA — iMammogram.com announced the national launch of a unique new service that will provide women with a Computer Aided Detection (CAD) analysis of their mammograms. The service, called CloserLook, will be available through participating mammography centers throughout the United States and via the Internet at www.iMammogram.com. 

Currently, up to 21 percent of early stage breast cancers are undetected through routine screening mammography, but iMammogram.com's CloserLook service can dramatically lower that percentage. In the May 2000 issue of Radiology, a peer-reviewed journal, researchers from several of the most renowned medical institutions in the world concluded that CAD technology, acting as a double check on screening mammograms, can help radiologists find an additional 15 to 20 percent of early stage cancers. 

iMammogram.com's CloserLook service uses FDA-approved CAD technology, the ImageChecker(TM) from R2 Technology, to identify and mark "regions of interest" on routine screening mammograms, directing the radiologist's attention to areas that could represent early cancers. 

"CAD is becoming widely recognized in the medical community as an effective means of identifying subtle abnormalities that the naked eye might miss," says company founder and practicing radiologist Larry Chespak, M.D. "Mammograms are very difficult to interpret, and CAD is a tool to help radiologists decrease errors due to oversight."

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, excluding skin cancers. It is the leading cause of cancer death among women aged 40 to 55. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 175,000 new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed and more than 43,000 people died from this disease in the U.S. during 1998. 

A woman who has recently undergone a mammogram can request iMammogram.com's CloserLook service from a participating mammography center or log onto iMammogram.com's web site to request a CloserLook analysis of her mammograms. After processing the mammograms, iMammogram.com will return the films to the mammography facility where the mammogram was originally performed. The woman's radiologist can then compare his or her diagnosis to the computer analysis, paying specific attention to any abnormalities detected by the computer. The cost is $75 via the Internet and varies at participating mammography centers. 

"Despite the fact that I read thousands of mammograms a year, and so do many radiologists, we all make mistakes," says Los Angeles, Calif., radiologist Maxine Jochelson, M.D. "The technology available reduces the number of mistakes we are going to make. We're going to find more cancers earlier and we're going to cure more women."

Dr. Chespak believes that cost is the main reason that more mammography centers and hospitals haven't already purchased CAD technology. "It is expensive and is not presently reimbursed by insurance, so it will be a number of years before this technology is readily available nationwide. iMammogram.com gives women and their physicians access to CAD technology with the CloserLook service."

Award-winning actress/comedian Whoopi Goldberg, supermodel/actress Cindy Margolis, and Deborah Axelrod, M.D., co-author (with Rosie O'Donnell) of "Bosom Buddies: Lessons and Laughter on Breast Health and Cancer," have teamed up with iMammogram.com as spokespersons to help fight against breast cancer. 

Women can access the latest news on breast cancer research and related women's issues, as well as a monthly newsletter, breast cancer risk calculator and many other resources for women through the web site at www.iMammogram.com. 

"At iMammogram.com, we want to make CAD technology available to women everywhere," says Dr. Chespak. "The earlier breast cancer is detected, the earlier treatment can begin and the more lives we can save."
News, photos provided by Newstream
 
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