As part of a joint, community-wide effort, Mercy Medical Center, UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Hospital, Radiology Consultants of Iowa (RCI) and OB-GYN Associates are pleased to announce they are now offering Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS) for breast cancer screening as a supplement to mammography for women with dense breast tissue. All four facilities have purchased the ABUS units and are now offering this technology for examinations.
ABUS is designed to acquire ultrasound images of the whole breast. The machine produces three-dimensional images that enable radiologists to detect cancer that might otherwise go unnoticed by mammography. With ABUS, the whole breast is automatically scanned. Three scans of each breast are obtained, minimizing the chance any portions of tissue will be missed.
“We are excited to add the Automated Breast Ultrasound system to our comprehensive breast cancer screening program,” said Dr. Arnold Honick, radiologist at RCI and medical director at UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Breast & Bone and Mercy’s Women’s Center. “By offering ABUS in addition to mammography for our patients with dense breast tissue, we anticipate improving detection for small cancers that cannot be seen on a mammogram alone. We believe ABUS will become an integral part of our community-wide practice for detection of breast cancer.”
Dense breast tissue represents the amount of whiteness of tissue on a mammogram. The denser tissue can mask potential tumors. As breast density increases, the ability to detect smaller tumors is reduced. In addition, there is evidence that patients with the densest breast tissue have an increased risk for breast cancer, so this new technology is a welcome advancement to help detect breast cancer as early as possible.
In an effort to make women aware of their breast density, Iowa has enacted breast density legislation, as of January 2018, mandating that women be notified if they have dense tissue. Additionally, they should be informed of the potential benefits and risks of supplemental imaging beyond mammography.
Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among women, exceeded only by lung cancer. Statistics indicate that one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. The stage at which breast cancer is detected influences a woman’s chance of survival. If detected early, the five-year survival rate is 98 percent.
Annual screening mammography is recommended by the American College of Radiology and Society of Breast Imaging for all patients older than 40 regardless of breast density. Women should consult with their doctors earlier if they have a family history of breast cancer.
To learn more about ABUS, or to schedule an appointment, please contact RCI Imaging Center at (319) 364-0121, OB-GYN Associates at (319) 368-5500, UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Breast and Bone Health at (319) 369-7216 or Mercy Women’s Center at (319) 398-6821.