|Dr. Lydia Su, PhD
Assistant Professor of Radiological Sciences
and Physics in Residence (Medical Physics)
Department of Radiological Sciences, MRI Division
John Tu and Thomas Yuen Center for Onco Imaging
Dr. Lydia Su, PhD applies
advanced MRI techniques developed in the Center for Onco Imaging to the
diagnosis and monitoring of breast cancer. Her studies are yielding important
information on the effect of therapy on tumor cells and tumor blood vessels.
Dr Su's works with Drs Baick, Butler, Hsiang, Mehta, and Tromberg.to apply
these techniques for patient care and to validate newer technologies or
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is your breast cancer specialty?
I am a physicist specializing in breast MRI.
2. Why is this an important part of breast
MRI has emerged into a standard clinical tool for breast cancer care,
particularly for pre-operative planning and high-risk screening.
3. How is this different then what might
be offered in the community (outside of UC Irvine )?
We have grants funded by NIH (National Institute of Health) and CBCRP
(California Breast Cancer Research Program), and will be able to perform
MRI for patients without charging to them or their insurance company.
4. Specifically, What is it? (description
of the treatment, procedure, study, etc.)
Breast MRI examination can provide 3-dimensional coverage from both breasts.
MRI is considered as the most sensitive imaging modality for cancer detection
in women with dense breast, breast implants, or scar tissue from previous
5. What is it for?
We will offer MRI studies for three groups of patients: 1) patients who
have equivocal findings on mammogram or ultrasound. Breast MRI can help
rule out or confirm suspicious finding for cancer detection; 2) patients
who are already diagnosed with cancer. Breast MRI can be used to detect
tumor margin or the existence of multifocal / multicentric disease for
pre-operative planning. It will help decide whether a conservation surgery
is appropriate, and if yes how large the excision area needs to be. 3)
patients who decide to receive chemotherapy before surgery. Breast MRI
will be performed to monitor the early response after 1-2 cycle chemotherapy
is given. If the patient is not responding well, it will allow timely
adjustment of treatment regimens.
6. What will my (the patient) experience
As for any imaging examination, you will need to stay still inside the
MRI scanner for approximately 1 hour. To be able to detect cancer, a contrast
medium (an MRI dye) will be injected into IV.
7. What were past studies of yours which
influenced your current work?
We have been performing breast MRI studies since 1999. The investigators
have acquired substantial experience. We are currently developing optical
imaging techniques, aiming to further improve our ability in differentiating
benign lesions from breast cancer.
8. What current studies, or novel options
within your specialty are currently available?
The clinical MRI study is offered at many hospitals in Orange County.
However, either the patient needs to pay herself or an authorization from
the insurance company is needed. We will provide this MRI study free of
charge. Besides, we can also perform MR spectroscopy study to detect Choline
(a signature of cancer), to improve diagnostic accuracy.
9. What is the best way for potential patients
to reach you?
The patient will need to see physicians at UC Irvine Breast Center to be referred
to us for an MRI study.
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