MAMMOGRAPHY AND WOMEN'S IMAGING
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SCREENING MAMMOGRAPHY SAVES LIVES
WHY GET MY MAMMOGRAM?
Dr. Stacey Keen
Dr. Jordan Dixon discusses supplemental breast screening on WSAV
August 9, 2022
WHY BREAST DENSITY MATTERS
WHAT IS BREAST DENSITY?
Breasts are made up of a mixture of fibrous, glandular, and fatty tissue. Your breasts are considered dense if you have a lot of fibrous or glandular tissue but not much fat. Density may decrease with age, but there is little, if any, change in most women.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE DENSE BREASTS?
Breast density is determined by the radiologist who reads your mammogram. There are four categories of density. The radiologist assigns each mammogram to one of the categories. Your doctor should be able to tell you whether you have dense breast based on your mammogram.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE DENSE BREASTS?
If your mammogram report says that you have dense breast tissue, talk with your health care provider about what this means for you. Be sure that your doctor or nurse knows if there’s anything in your medical history that increases your risk for breast cancer.
WHY IS BREAST DENSITY IMPORTANT?
Women who have dense breast tissue have a higher risk of breast cancer compared to women with less dense breast tissue. It’s unclear why dense breast tissue is linked to breast cancer risk. It may be that dense breast tissue has more cells that can develop into abnormal cells. Dense breast tissue also makes it harder for radiologists to see cancer on mammograms.
IF I HAVE DENSE BREASTS, DO I STILL NEED A MAMMOGRAM?
Yes. Most breast cancers can be seen on a mammogram even in women who have dense breast tissue, so it’s still important to get regular mammograms. Even if you have a normal mammogram report, you should know how your breasts normally look and feel. Anytime there’s a change, you should report it to a health care provider right away.
ARE ANY TESTS BETTER THAN A MAMMOGRAM FOR DENSE BREASTS?
Ultrasound (US) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can help find cancers that can’t be seen on a mammogram. However, both MRI and US show more findings that are not cancer, which can result in added testing. 3D mammography can make some cancers easier to see.
Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound
WHAT IS ABUS?
2D and 3D mammography may miss cancers in dense breasts potentially delaying diagnosis in these women. Both dense breast tissue and cancer appear white on a mammogram, creating a camouflage effect and a dilemma for radiologists whose goal is to find breast cancer as early as possible. Invenia™ ABUS is the first FDA-approved ultrasound supplemental screening technology that is specifically designed for detecting cancer in dense breast tissue.
WHO IS ABUS FOR?
Patients with dense breasts and heterogeneously dense breast tissue may benefit from whole breast screening ultrasound. Ask your doctor for more information.
IS ABUS THE RIGHT SCREENING TOOL FOR ME?
If your mammamogram states that your breasts are extremely dense or heterogeneously dense, ask your doctor if this screening tool is right for you.
HOW IS ABUS DIFFERENT THAN TRADITIONAL ULTRASOUND?
The exam is done automatically with the aid of a mammography technologist. The ABUS imaging process uses 3D ultrasound technology to comfortably and quickly image women with dense breast tissue. Each exam takes approximately 15 minutes.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?
Ultrasound lotion is applied to the breast and the ABUS machine compresses the breast gently. The ultrasound images are acquired in both breasts usually in under 15 minutes.