BHB offering breast ultrasound to help catch cancer early
The Bermuda Hospitals Board is offering breast ultrasound for people with dense breast tissue in order to track down cancers in their early stages.
BHB provided the service to its first patients last week after acquiring an automated breast ultrasound system.
The new piece of equipment is FDA approved for breast cancer screening as an adjunct to mammography for persons with dense breast tissue.
Daniel Stovell, BHB’s chief of radiology, said: “We are excited to add the automated breast ultrasound system from GE Healthcare to our comprehensive breast cancer screening programme.
“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.”
Dense breast tissue has been found to be the most common risk factor for the development of cancer and also makes cancer more difficult to detect using mammography alone, according to studies.
As breast density increases, the accuracy of mammograms is reduced.
The difficulty radiologists experience when reading mammograms is that both dense tissue and cancer appear white on a mammogram. With ABUS, suspicious masses appear black against the white of the dense tissue.
Dr Stovell said: “Mammography is the gold standard for the detection of breast cancer. However, it doesn’t work equally well in everyone, particularly those with dense breast tissue.
“Designed and built specifically for screening, research shows that ABUS technology as an adjunct to mammography has the potential to find 35.7 per cent additional cancers that would not have been found with mammography alone.”
Dr Stovell recommends women get regular mammograms as suggested by their doctor. If they have been informed that they have dense breast tissue, they should talk to their doctor or radiologist about specific risks and additional screening tests that might be appropriate.“