The use of Compton scattering to differentiate between classifications of normal and diseased breast tissue
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This study describes a technique for measuring the electron density of breast tissue utilizing Compton scattered photons. The Kalpha2 line from a tungsten target industrial x-ray tube (57.97 keV) was used and the scattered x-rays collected at an angle of 30 degrees . At this angle the Compton and coherent photon peaks can be resolved using an energy dispersive detector and a peak fitting algorithm. The system was calibrated using solutions of known electron density. The results obtained from a pilot study of 22 tissues are presented. The tissue samples investigated comprise four different tissue classifications: adipose, malignancy, fibroadenoma and fibrocystic change (FCC). It is shown that there is a difference between adipose and malignant tissue, to a value of 9.0%, and between adipose and FCC, to a value of 12.7%. These figures are found to be significant by statistical analysis. The differences between adipose and fibroadenoma tissues (2.2%) and between malignancy and FCC (3.4%) are not significant. It is hypothesized that the alteration in glucose uptake within malignant cells may cause these tissues to have an elevated electron density. The fibrotic nature of tissue that has undergone FCC gives the highest measure of all tissue types.
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