Northern Arizona Healthcare’s Verde Valley Medical Center now offers automated breast ultrasound, or ABUS, for women with dense breast tissue.
If you have dense breast tissue, like 40 percent of American women, an ABUS screening can increase the detection of cancers. ABUS is specifically developed to help providers find cancers hidden in dense breast tissue, which may be missed by mammography.
Dense breast tissue is linked with an increased risk of developing breast cancer – 71 percent of breast cancers are diagnosed in dense breasts. Women with extremely dense breast tissue have a four to six times greater risk of developing breast cancer than women who do not have dense breast tissue.
Breast density is determined by the radiologist who reads your mammogram and classifies the density into one of four categories. Your provider will tell you if you have dense breasts based on your mammogram’s classification on the density scale.
An ABUS screening is completely unlike a mammogram – a layer of lotion is applied to your breast, and then a scanner is firmly positioned on your breast to acquire the images. The exam takes approximately 15 minutes and gives your provider clear, 3D ultrasound images.
If you have dense breasts, have your provider refer you to VVMC’s Medical Imaging department for an ABUS screening.