It is widely believed that routine mammography will detect breast cancer if it is there to be found. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. It is well known to medical professionals and radiologists that mammograms can miss up to 20% of cancers that are in the breast waiting to be found. In fact, women with a palpable cancerous lump can sometimes have a normal mammogram! Why does this happen?
There are many reasons for missing a cancer on mammogram. It might be too small to see. It might be obscured by implants or scar tissue. It might not show any of the changes that are looked for (abnormal calcium deposits are suspicious for cancer but are not always present).
But the single most common reason for a mammogram to miss a breast cancer is that many women have dense breast tissue and the density of the tissue hides the typical findings radiologists use to detect cancer when they read a mammogram.
Awareness of the problem of breast tissue density is growing
The web site, http://www.areyoudense.org/ is dedicated to increasing public awareness of this issue. The awareness of this problem has reached the Federal Government. On October 5, 2011, HR 3102 legislation was introduced that would require all mammograms to report on the patient’s breast density and to inform the patient with dense breast tissue that they might benefit from additional screening tests.
In California, unfortunately, Governor Brown recently vetoed SB 791 which said the same thing, but the California legislation is expected to be reintroduced and likely will become the law in 2012.
What additional tests can help detect breast cancer in a woman with dense breast tissue?
Many people turn to MRI for these situations, but MRI can cost up to $2,000 every time and is often not covered by insurance, leading to a big battle between the worried patient and their health plan.
Luckily, there is another alternative, called SonoCiné AWBU. The AWBU stands for “Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound.”To quote the company, “SonoCiné is an automated breast ultrasound system that has been cleared by the FDA as an adjunctive examination to mammography. It is a complementary examination and not a replacement for mammography. Peer reviewed, published, clinical trials demonstrated that SonoCiné, when used as an adjunct to mammography, found more and smaller cancers than were found by mammography alone.”
The inventor of SonoCiné AWBU is Dr. Kevin Kelly, a breast radiologist for over 30 years. He used to be on staff here at Huntington Memorial Hospital and Hill Breast Center. He left in order to commit full-time to bringing SonoCiné AWBU to market, and his dream is starting to come true. There are over 20 locations in the U.S. currently offering SonoCiné AWBU and it is being performed in other countries as well. They have over 30 patents on this technology so far, and it only costs about $300! Painless, quick, safe and with the ability to find breast cancers that mammograms will miss. Amazing!
You can schedule a SonoCiné AWBU with Dr. Kelly himself. He is located in Venice Beach, less than an hour drive from Pasadena. Call 310-566-6688. For more information, go to http://www.sonocine.com/