Ultrasound technology supplements mammograms

For the Troy Daily News

TROY — Upper Valley Medical Center has added automated whole breast ultrasound as one more weapon available locally in the fight against cancer.

This technology produces results that show breast cancers in dense tissue as darker spots, bringing hidden cancers to the forefront and allowing earlier diagnosis and treatment. The technology can be used as a supplemental screening test for women with dense breast tissue or breast implants.

“Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound supplements breast evaluation for dense breasts. It is not a replacement for mammograms, but does help detect lesions that may not be found initially on a mammogram,” said David Brown, M.D., medical director of mammography services at UVMC.

The test is performed with the patient lying on an exam table while the ultrasound transducer travels in vertical passes across the entire breast area, including under the arm and toward the center of the chest.

In the United States, more than 40 percent of women have dense breast tissue. Research shows that mammography can miss more than 50 percent of all breast cancers in this group of women. In dense breast tissue, mammography detects cancers, such as calcifications, that cannot be seen well by ultrasound. In contrast, ultrasound detects cancers, such as fast growing invasive cancers, that cannot be seen by mammography.

Automated whole breast ultrasound, in addition to mammography, has found more cancers in women with dense breasts than have been found by mammogram alone.

“It is a great addition to our arsenal against breast cancer and we are excited to bring it to Miami County,” said Jacqui Rose, UVMC director of imaging, telecommunications and information technology.

In March 2015, Ohio became one of 24 states to pass a mandatory breast density notification law. The law requires that women with dense breasts be notified after a mammogram that they have dense breast tissue and that mammography alone may not be sufficient.

A physician’s referral is required to perform an automated whole breast ultrasound. It is recommended that patients check with the insurance provider prior to the exam to discuss coverage.

For more information about automated whole breast ultrasound, visit PremierHealth.com/mammo.