I’ve had a scare with my annual breast exam once.
There was a lump my doctor found in doing my breast exam one time. She sent me for a breast ultrasound and a mammogram. Luckily, it ended up being fatty tissue and nothing more serious.
But I wonder, if my doctor hadn’t sent me for testing and it turned out to be something, what would I have done?
What I didn’t know is that mammography is not useful in finding breast tumors in dense breast tissue characteristic of women under 40 years! This is important to know! Women with dense breasts are 5-6 times more likely to develop breast cancer.
Having an ultrasound is a more secure way to determine if there is a tumour in your breasts as the ultrasound can see the difference between the dense tissue and the cancer. With a mammogram, the tumour can hide in the tissue and not be detected at an early age. As well, dense tissue and tumours both appear as white on a mammogram making it difficult to detect.
ABUS is specifically designed for breast ultrasound screening and diagnosis. In one sweep of the machine, ABUS is able to take 600 images of the breast tissue and captures images approximately every two millimetres. Unlike hand-held ultrasounds which can only capture specific areas of the breast, ABUS captures the entire breast in 3 dimensions, providing a much more detailed scan.
Dee had an Automated Breast Ultrasound – ABUS and allowed herself to be recorded in this video.
If your doctor doesn’t request an ultrasound or if you’re on a waiting list and you don’t want to wait, then this might be a good option for you. For women with dense breasts, the ABUS is much more detailed than a regular hand-held ultrasound.
Having this service is outside the public health care system and costs $300. Many extended healthcare providers do cover diagnostic imaging services in their plans. The coverage may be a portion or total cost of your scan depending on your insurance policy. It is also tax deductible. There is also a program in place to help underprivileged women.
If you are concerned about your breast health and have family history of breast cancer, it may be a good idea to get an ABUS ultrasound done.
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They offered me a free ABUS ultrasound but I want to give it to one of my readers. Enter for a chance to win a free ultrasound in Toronto: