10 Key Questions on Breast Health
|Do I have dense breast tissue and does it matter?
Here's one of the most basic breast health questions every woman should ask. If you have a history of breast disease, or what is called "radiographically dense breast tissue" (your healthcare provider can tell you more), you'll need to be more proactive about breast health. In fact, dense breast tissue increases the risk of breast cancer up to five times, according to The New England Journal of Medicine.
|If I am at higher risk, what can I do to protect myself?
You'll want to partner closely with your healthcare provider to ensure you're getting regular check-ups. You'll also want to ask about technologies optimized for assessing breast health in those considered difficult to scan or who are at higher risk.
|Are there specific technologies I should know about?
One of the most promising new technologies is automated 3D ultrasound. Instead of flat, 2D images, this powerful ultrasound technology gives physicians a much more realistic view of the whole breast and its physical structures, providing multiple views--side to side, back and front, and more.
|Should I ask to be scanned with a 3D system?
If you have dense breast tissue or a history of breast disease, it's something you should definitely discuss with your healthcare provider. Ultrasound is an established tool for imaging dense breast tissue. It has the unique ability to distinguish between fatty and dense breast tissue, as well as being non-ionizing (meaning there is no radiation).
|So... does 3D ultrasound replace mammography?
Absolutely not. Mammography is considered the gold standard in breast screening, but it misses or overlooks roughly 10 percent of the cancers in women with dense breast tissue. It's been reported that a single screening ultrasound following a standard mammogram increases detection of breast cancers that are small and node-negative.
|Is the 3D ultrasound scan painful?
If you've experienced a traditional mammogram, it's completely understandable why you ask. You'll be pleased to know the answer is, "no." It is a relatively painless, quick, and comfortable exam.
|What's the exam process like?
You lie on a table and a lotion is applied to your breast. A stabilizing membrane is attached to the ultrasound scanner to minimize breast movement and the scanner is placed on your breast. The scan takes approximately 60 seconds and typically three scans are done on each breast. The entire exam is usually finished in less than 10 minutes.
|How do I get a supplemental 3D scan?
Talk with your healthcare provider about your condition and whether a 3D scan makes sense. Grand View Hospital is the only healthcare center in the region that has invested in this state-of-the-art breast technology.
|Who makes 3D breast scanning technology?
There are a number of companies providing 3D ultrasound. One of the newest and most promising is from Siemens Healthcare and is called the ACUSON S2000TM Automated Breast Volume Scanner (ABVS). It provides extraordinary detail of the breast anatomy and a range of features designed for patient comfort.
|Will the procedure be covered by my insurance?
Consult with your healthcare provider and insurance company.