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Are you dense? Pardon the question, but 47 percent of intelligent American women don’t know the answer when it comes to breast health. Being diagnosed with dense breasts simply means you have more fibrous and glandular breast tissue. The density can only be determined by a radiologist’s evaluation of a mammogram.
In the United States, 40 percent of women have been diagnosed with dense breasts and about 50 percent of them are under the age of 50. While breast density typically lessens with age, it is still present in 1/3 of women over 50. Overall, these women have a 4-6 times higher risk of breast cancer when compared to those with little or no breast density.
Better Detecting Cancer in Dense Breasts
Even on the most advanced 3-D mammogram, fibroglandular breast tissue appears white. The problem is that lumps, cysts and tumors also appear white. Breast density can make it difficult for radiologists to find smaller cancers. Some say it is like looking for a “snowball in a snowstorm.” In fact, density can decrease mammography’s ability to detect breast cancer by 36 to 38 percent.
That’s why Lakeview Hospital is the first in Utah to offer the only FDA-approved automated ultrasound system as an additional screening tool for women with dense breasts. It does not expose women to radiation, and unlike the “wand” technology currently used to analyze lumps in breasts, the new automated system captures images of the entire breast area. The more complete picture improves the screening.
The InveniaTM ABUS helps our clinicians to more accurately detect breast cancer when it is smaller and in its most curable stage. Clinical trials utilizing ABUS in conjunction with mammography found the technology has the potential to find 35.7 percent additional cancers that would not have been found with mammography alone.
Mammograms remain the gold standard for breast cancer detection and are still recommended for all women at an age determined by a discussion with their doctor. The new ultrasound screening combines with that proven technology to better detect smaller cancers in dense breasts.
If you’ve been diagnosed with breast density, ask your doctor whether an automated ultrasound could help you to better screen for cancer. The new 15-minute screening could bring the peace of mind of knowing you are currently breast cancer free.