For women with dense breast tissue, Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS) can be used in addition to mammography to increase the accuracy of breast cancer screening. More than 40 percent of all women have dense breast tissue. Studies show that ultrasound and mammography performed together can find more cancers in women with dense breasts than mammography alone. It’s important to note that ABUS is not a substitute for mammography, which remains the foundation of breast cancer screening.
The ABUS exam is painless, radiation-free and takes about 20 to 30 minutes. The ABUS system scans both breasts and adjacent structures. The ultrasound sends sound waves to the breast tissue, which help create a picture that can be seen on a computer screen. Your technician helps direct the ABUS probe, but probe movement is automated to ensure no areas are missed. The probe moves in parallel rows until all areas of the breasts are covered.
The automated exam collects 3,000 to 5,000 images that the radiologist can view in a motion-picture format. The radiologist can then speed up, slow down, go forward or backward to review areas of interest.
If you have dense breast tissue, ask your doctor if the ABUS examination is appropriate for you.