HerScan Breast Cancer Ultrasound Screening
Dr. Roxanne Pero MD, FACOG, DIPABLM
The reality is, that SCREENING for breast cancer does NOT CHANGE your risk of getting breast cancer in the first place but it does improve early detection. The key to screening is to ensure that women understand the risks and benefits of all screening modalities and that the screening plan is uniquely tailored to a woman’s risk factors and family history.
Routine mammogram screening can miss up to 20% of invasive breast cancers, especially if a woman has dense breasts.
What does it mean to have dense breasts? The more glands and fibrous tissue a breast have, the “denser” the tissue. Breast density is graded on an A-D scale. Category C is defined as being heterogeneously dense and up to 40% of women undergoing mammograms can have this category. About 10% of women have Category D breast density, the densest category.
Dense breasts make it harder for radiologists to detect breast cancer on a mammogram and dense breast tissue is a risk factor itself for breast cancer.
The addition of a breast ultrasound can increase detection of breast cancer from approximately 48% to 97% in dense breasts!
Among 1000 women screened by mammography alone and not found to have breast cancer, breast ultrasound will identify cancer in 2 out of 3 of those women. Screening ultrasound does not replace screening mammography consistent with the American Cancer Society and the US Preventive Task Force recommendations.
How is a breast ultrasound performed? Most often, ultrasound is done using a handheld, wand-like instrument called a transducer. First a gel is put on the skin and/or the transducer, and then the transducer is moved around over the skin. It sends out sound waves and picks up the echoes as they bounce off body tissues deeper under the skin. These echoes are made into a picture on a computer screen. You might feel some pressure as the transducer is moved around on your skin, but it should not be painful. One of the many advantages of a breast ultrasound as a screening tool is that it does not use radiation!
This month, Carpathia Collaborative will be hosting HerScan mobile ultrasound! While the slots for this event filled up quickly, we will be hosting another opportunity for you to book your convenient ultrasound in our space in the new year- so stay tuned for details!