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New Devices Boost Detection of Breast Cancer at Hospitals

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Fort Madison Community Hospital and Great River Medical Center have begun offering the only FDA-approved ultrasound screening device for women with dense breast tissue. Automated breast ultrasound (ABUS) with the Invenia ABUS 2.0 has been shown to improve breast cancer detection by 35.7% for women with dense breast tissue.

Breasts are made of fat and breast tissue. A breast with more tissue than fat is considered dense. About 40% of women in the U.S. have dense breast tissue.

“Mammograms are still the gold standard and first step for breast cancer screening for all women,” said Steven Davis, MD, medical director, Diagnostic Imaging. “The ABUS screening would be ordered as an additional test for women with dense breasts to provide a more complete evaluation of dense breast tissue. Early detection of hidden cancers offers the opportunity for better long-term outcomes.”

Breast density has been found to be the most common risk factor for breast cancer, over family history and other risk factors. Women with dense breast tissue are at four to six times higher risk of developing breast cancer than women without dense tissue. A 2019 national law requires patients to be informed of their breast density in their mammogram report letters.

ABUS screening is a comfortable and relatively short examination that doesn’t use radiation. Harmless sound waves create 3D images of breast tissue for radiologists to review. With a health care provider’s order, the screening can be done during a patient’s mammography visit. There is an additional charge. Patients are encouraged to check with their insurance companies about coverage.

“Supplemental screening with ABUS has been shown to improve breast cancer detection over mammography alone in women with dense breasts,” said Dr. Davis. “It helps provide a more complete evaluation.”