Diagnostic Imaging Services

High-Tech Imaging With the Latest Equipment

Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia offers you the most advanced technologies for cancer imaging, staging (determining the extent of the cancer) and cancer treatment planning. Our team of radiology experts offers you the following imaging services:

Digital Mammography

Our full-field digital mammography system with computer-aided detection (CAD) revolutionizes breast care. It helps physicians look for early warning signs of breast cancer to detect and diagnose it earlier and more accurately.

Research shows that digital mammography is superior to conventional film mammography in certain groups of women:

  • Women with dense breasts
  • Women under age 50
  • Premenopausal or perimenopausal (near menopause) women

For all other women, film and digital mammograms have been shown to have very similar screening accuracy. Film mammography is still the more commonly used of the two.

Both digital and conventional film mammography use X-rays to create an image of the breast. Digital mammography takes electronic images stored directly on a computer; conventional mammography uses film.

Benefits of Digital Mammography:

  • Images are clearer and easier to read
  • Improved ease of image access, transmission, retrieval and storage because the images are electronic
  • Ability to enhance or magnify the images during the reading process, which also results in fewer unnecessary return visits or callbacks
  • Less radiation use than film mammography (however, the dose in film mammography is quite low and poses no significant danger to patients)
  • Availability of software to help radiologists interpret digital mammograms
  • Telemammography - sending digital mammograms electronically for interpretation in a remote location

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MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses radio waves and a powerful magnet to create detailed pictures (shown on a computer screen) of areas inside the body. These 2- or 3- dimensional images can show the difference between normal and diseased tissue.

Much like CT scans, MRI can produce 3-D images of sections of the body, but MRI is sometimes more sensitive than CT scans for distinguishing soft tissues. MRI is especially useful for imaging the brain, spine, the soft tissue of joints and the inside of bones.

Fox Chase radiology experts use 2 state-of-the-art MRI units to do imaging for our patients with ease, speed and accuracy. Fox Chase is accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) for both MRI units.

3.0-Tesla (3T) Whole Body MRI Unit

One of only a few in the Philadelphia region, Fox Chase's 3.0-Tesla (3T) MRI unit creates images with extreme detail and clarity revealing fine changes in body structures or functions. It has twice the strength and speed of existing MRI imaging equipment, enhancing metabolic and physiologic imaging for clinical care and research. This means excellent image quality and faster scan times.

Expert radiologists and researchers at Fox Chase also are developing imaging clinical trials using the 3T MRI. These include 1) MR spectroscopy for high-risk breast cancer patients and 2) Full body (head to toe) MRI for staging cancer.

1.5-Tesla (1.5T) MRI Unit

For physicians, this unit provides high-resolution images for interpretation; for patients, a shorter scan time. The 1.5-Tesla (1.5T) MRI complements the 3T MRI, providing high-quality images for many patient studies.

Fox Chase experts use the 1.5T MRI for routine studies as well as for dynamic contrast MRI (DCMR), studies of the abdomen and pelvis, MR colonography (colon, or large intestine), MR cholangiopancreatography (biliary and pancreatic ducts), kidney MRI, MR urography (urinary tract), prostate spectroscopy, MRI guided breast biopsies and breast MRI for high-risk patients. It also can provide magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), an MRI study of the blood vessels.

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CT Scanning

Fox Chase Cancer Center's 64-slice CT scanner produces very detailed images with fast scan times. In addition, our 40-slice CT scanner can get up to 40 slices per rotation in sub-millimeter spiral modes for clinical studies. With this tool, a whole-body scan can be completed in 20 seconds. A 16-slice scanner at Fox Chase serves as an ideal tool for image-guided procedures. Its side open bore increases patient comfort and exam speed.

A computed tomography scan (CT scan, also called a CAT scan) uses computer-controlled X-rays to create 3-dimensional images of the body. By imaging and looking at several 3-D slices of the body (like slices of bread), the radiologist can tell not only if a tumor is present, but roughly how deep it is in the body. A CT scan can be 3-D because information is collected digitally on a computer, not on a flat piece of film.

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Digital X-ray

Fox Chase Cancer Center's digital radiographic system can perform chest and any other general X-ray exams in little time. X-rays are a type of high-energy radiation. In low doses, they are used to diagnose diseases such as cancer by making pictures of inside the body. They also may be used to see if a cancer has spread.

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Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine services at Fox Chase Cancer Center include both conventional nuclear medicine imaging and PET scanning with PET/CT fusion. Fox Chase's gamma camera allows for accurate cancer diagnosis and faster scan times for patients undergoing this imaging. The gamma camera lets radiologists view magnified images of targeted areas of the body. It can be used for whole-body and general-purpose procedures.

A subspecialty of radiology, nuclear medicine uses imaging tests to produce pictures of both the body's anatomy and functions. Sophisticated instruments detect energy given off by very small amounts of radioactive material given to the patient intravenously or by mouth. This is how the images are formed.


PET/CT is the combination of 2 advanced technologies fused together to give higher quality, more detailed images of a patient's internal anatomy and cell metabolic functions. In 2002, Fox Chase Cancer Center became the first institution in the Greater Philadelphia region to offer the PET/CT scanner.

PET stands for positron emission tomography. It takes computerized pictures of high metabolic activity in the body. Metabolic activities are the physical and chemical changes taking place in living cells, such as how cells absorb nutrition. Cancerous cells usually have a higher level of metabolic activity than normal cells. CT, or computerized tomography, uses high-definition X-ray images to show the body's anatomy.

PET/CT is especially useful for accurate diagnosis and staging of cancers of the head and neck, breast, lung, esophagus, colon, lymphoma, melanoma and certain thyroid cancers.

Advantages of PET/CT fusion:

  • Detecting small tumors, allowing for diagnosis of very early cancers
  • Improving the precision of cancer staging prior to surgery or other cancer treatment
  • Determining if a cancer has recurred (come back) or if a lesion is scar tissue from surgery
  • Eliminating unnecessary invasive exams or surgeries

More benefits of PET:

  • Telling the difference between benign masses and malignant (cancerous) ones
  • Detecting distant metastases (the cancer spreading)
  • Staging patients for known cancers
  • Helping in radiation treatment planning
  • Checking to see if a cancer is responding to treatment

For more information about PET/CT at Fox Chase Cancer Center or to make an appointment, call 215-214-4210.

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Interventional Radiology

Interventional radiologists at Fox Chase perform many image-guided procedures to help deliver cancer treatments. They focus on advances in imaging technology to offer minimally invasive techniques in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

Interventional radiology is a clinical subspecialty that uses fluoroscopy, CT and ultrasound to guide percutaneous (through the skin) procedures. Such procedures include image-guided biopsies, chemoembolization (delivering anticancer drugs directly to the tumor while blocking the blood supply to the tumor), radiofrequency ablation (use of electrodes to heat and destroy abnormal tissue), draining fluids, inserting catheters and inserting ports.

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Fox Chase Cancer Center's ultrasound room offers a vast array of outpatient studies, including abdominal work and breast ultrasound. Fox Chase radiologists have expertise both in screening for and diagnosing cancer with ultrasound.

Ultrasound uses sound waves with frequencies above those humans can hear. The sound waves travel into the body, bouncing off organs and tissues to make echoes. The echo patterns form a picture (sonogram) of the internal organs and body tissues. Ultrasound can show tumors. It also can guide doctors doing biopsies or treating tumors.

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For more information about diagnostic imaging services at Fox Chase Cancer Center or to make an appointment, call 1-888 FOX CHASE (1-888-369-2427).