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Fox Chase Cancer Center Offers R2 ImageChecker to Aid in Early Detection of Breast Cancer

PHILADELPHIA (August 21, 2002) -- The most important factor in the successful treatment of breast cancer is the early detection of the disease. Now, Fox Chase Cancer Center has employed a powerful ally to help provide earlier detection of breast cancer-the R2 ImageChecker®. Fox Chase is the only cancer center in the Greater Philadelphia Region with this technology.

The R2 ImageChecker technology can detect suspicious areas of a mammogram (a breast X-ray). Once the mammogram films are developed, the films are fed into the ImageChecker processor, which digitizes images. The ImageChecker highlights suspicious areas so the radiologist can analyze them for possible disease. The Image Checker can detect tiny cancers that might otherwise not be seen during the review process or may not be detected until after a couple of years have passed. Computer-assisted detection technology is particularly effective in identifying calcium deposits, called microcalcifications, that indicate the possible presence of cancer.

"The interpretation of mammograms is challenging," explained Kathryn Evers, M.D., director of mammography at Fox Chase Cancer Center. "Each woman's breast tissue is different and varies for the same woman over time or even at different times of the month. The ImageChecker is able to help detect potential problems, but it is the radiologist's role to analyze the image and differentiate between benign and malignant breast lesions.

"The ImageChecker combines the expertise of Fox Chase radiologists with a sophisticated computer-assisted detection system to create a powerful team in the detection of breast cancer," added Evers.

Studies have shown that radiologists can increase their cancer detection rates by up to 23 percent when interpreting mammograms with the aid of the ImageChecker, which has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

In 2002, Fox Chase Cancer Center will perform 8,000-10,000 screening mammograms and diagnostic mammograms. Screening mammograms are conducted on women without symptoms, such as a lump or discharge from the nipple, while diagnostic mammograms are performed on women with symptoms that may indicate breast cancer.

According to the National Institute of Health, if breast cancer is identified early, or in Stage 0 or I, when the cancer is confined to the duct or local area of the breast, the patient's chances for survival are dramatically higher than if the cancer is more advanced. The five-year survival rate for breast cancer patients decreases from approximately 95 percent for cancers detected and treated at an early stage to 36 percent for Stage III cancer, where the cancer has spread to surrounding tissue, to just 7 percent for late-stage cancers that have spread to distant organs.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, one of the nation's first comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1974, conducts basic and clinical research; programs of prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach. For more information about Fox Chase activities, visit the Center's web site at

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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