MARSHALL – “The early detection of breast cancer saves lives,” said Chris Wetzel, Oaklawn Hospital’s director of diagnostic services. “That’s why we are launching a new program — the first of its kind in Michigan — to give women a more powerful weapon against cancer.”
Using ultrasound technology developed by GE Healthcare, women who participate in Oaklawn’s screening mammography examinations will be informed of their breast density and receive assurance that their screening is more complete than ever, Wetzel said.
Oaklawn is the first Michigan provider of Invenia automated breast ultrasound — also called ABUS — a process that provides mammography patients with supplemental three-dimensional breast screening as well as information about breast density.
In fact, a new Michigan law requiring breast density reporting to women goes into effect June 1.
“Women with dense breast tissue are at a significantly higher risk of developing breast cancer that is not detected by mammography alone.,” said Dr. Indraneel Banerji, Oaklawn’s radiology medical director.
Breast density can’t be determined by touch or by the appearance of the breasts during an examination. It can be determined only when the radiologist evaluates a mammogram and classifies the density based on information obtained during the screening.
Although dense breast tissue isn’t abnormal, a cancerous lump may be obscured by dense tissue during traditional radiation screenings. In fact, simple mammography screening of women with dense breast tissue misses more than a third of breast cancers, Banerji said.
Invenia ABUS breast cancer screening uses sound waves to create three-dimensional pictures of breast tissue, unlike radiation-based mammography. ABUS technology is specifically developed and FDA-approved for women with dense breast tissue.
The system provides physicians a way to look at dense breast tissue that can allow them to improve breast cancer detection by up to 35.7 percent over mammography alone, according to GE. The system also is designed for ease of use and comfort for the patient.
“Clearly, there is a need for women to be properly informed of their risk and screening options,” Banerji said. “Michigan has passed legislation mandating that screening mammography patients demonstrating greater than 50 percent breast density should be informed of their density and the limitation of screening with mammography alone.”
“We can give our patients so much better care with this screening tool,” Wetzel said. “It will give those patients extra comfort knowing there is this new technology that could catch something in that population of women.”
“We are pleased to be able to offer the only FDA-approved breast screening technology specifically developed to increase breast cancer detection for women with dense breast tissue with no previous clinical breast interventions,” Banerji said. “At the time of the mammography screening, if the patient fits the radiologist criteria an ABUS exam will be offered.”
GE Healthcare, a unit of General Electric C., introduced the Invenia system in late 2013 at an annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.
More information about breast density and the Invenia ABUS technology may be obtained online at www.gehealthcare.com/ultrasound.