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?

My friend Dee Brun aka Cocktail Deeva recently went for a breast ultrasound at VIP Breast Imaging because she has dense breasts.  It’s only company in Canada that provides this service.

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.

525 University Ave, Toronto

Phone: 647-350-2229

toronto@vipbreastimaging.com

http://www.vipbreastimaging.com/

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:

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Author

Maria Lianos-Carbone is Publisher/Editor of amotherworld. Follow her on Twitter @amotherworld and @lifeandtravelca.

10 Comments

  1. Thanks for posting this, and thanks Dee for having the courage to have this filmed.

    My mom is a breast cancer survivor. She was in her late 40s when it was discovered and it was a stressful time for us, luckily, they found it early and she’s been in remission for over 10 years now.

    Considering my family history, I’m not the best with doing personal checks, what complicates he matter is my lymph nodes swell if I have too much caffeine and around menstration. I’m 32 this year and I have no clue if I have dense breasts. I didn’t even know about this alternative way to check them (definitely sounds better than them being flattened during mammogram).

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Tracy,
    We wish all the best for your mom!
    Since your mom had breast cancer you are under high risk and should have the regular screening tests. The density can be checked initially with mammogram. Follow up tests can be done with ultrasounds because of your young age. Yes, there is no compression and no pain with our Automated Breast Ultrasound tests.

  3. Thanks to Maria and Dee (in particular!) for sharing this with all of us!

    I had a scare as well – particularly scary as my mom passed away from breast cancer when she was in her early 60s. The mammogram came back “normal” (doctor’s wording, and thank God) but they did not suggest I start regular screening or say anything about whether or not I have “dense” breasts…but all of my doctors have referred to my breasts as “naturally lumpy.” All this to I guess ask when I should be doing regular screening and how many facilities are there that do the ABU? I guess there’s a trip to my doctor in my future to get these answers. Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

    • Hi Dawn,
      We are so sorry to hear about your mom. With a family history regular screening (once a year) is extremely important especially if you have dense breasts. Mammogram alone is not enough. Most Dr’s don’t tell you that you have dense breasts unless you ask. This may be a question you want to ask next time you see your doctor. ABUS is located at 525 University Ave in Downtown Toronto. This is currently the only location in Ontario.
      Best of Luck

  4. Colleen Cole Reply

    I am so happy to find out that I have won this! I have dense (well they are very heavy) breasts that are really large and my ” baseline” mammogram was a nightmare. They had to X-ray one side twice because the pictures weren’t clear and couldn’t be read. I wasn’t pleased because that is a lot of radiation. Thank you so much. I will book my appointment soon!

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