Health Watch - Finding Cancer: Evaluating Tumors

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This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about tests to find cancer and determine how serious it is. One way to tell how well a patient will respond to chemotherapy is by measuring how much oxygen is in the tumor. Now doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found a less-invasive way to make that measurement.

Tumors with less oxygen tend to be stronger and less responsive to chemotherapy or radiation. Measuring oxygen levels has required inserting a needle into the tumor, but oxygen levels can also be measured using MRI. Dr. Ralph Mason, a UT Southwestern radiologist, says the technique involves having patients breathe pure oxygen, which goes throughout the bloodstream, including into tumors. The MRI then shows how much oxygen the tumor is taking, and that tells doctors how the tumor is behaving and which treatments will be most effective. This test was just as effective as the more invasive needle method in measuring oxygen levels in tumors.

Visit www.utsouthwestern.org/radiology to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in radiology.

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August 2009


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