2014-12-11 / Business

Covenant first to offer Automated Whole Breast Screening Ultrasound

SAGINAW – “I’m excited to announce Covenant Breast Health Center is the first medical center in the state of Michigan to offer Automated Whole Breast Screening Ultrasound (AWBUS), a supplemental screening exam for women with dense breasts and/or breast implants,” said Mark Ludka, MD, medical director of the Covenant Breast Health Program at Covenant HealthCare.

AWBUS is a painless procedure using ultrasound. No compression is needed and it takes about 20 minutes to perform. While AWBUS is not a replacement for screening mammography, studies show that an ultrasound examination in conjunction with a mammogram can find more cancers in women with dense breasts than by mammography alone. The goal of annual screenings is to find cancers early, when they are small and easier to treat.

Dr. Ludka explained breast imagers have long known dense breast tissue makes it more difficult to detect cancer. Spotting tiny cancers in the mammogram of a fatty breast is easier because cancer shows up white on dark fatty-breast tissue. However, cancers are harder to find in the mammogram of a dense breast because both cancer and dense-breast-tissue show up white.

According to Linda DeGuise, Manager of Imaging & Diagnostics at Covenant, “All Covenant mammography reports now include a statement describing the patient’s breast density level on a scale from 1 (fatty) to 4 (extremely dense). AWBUS is highly recommended, in conjunction with screening mammography, in patients with a breast density level of 3 or 4.”

The patient can be scheduled and the exam performed at the same time as her annual screening mammogram. AWBUS is cleared by the FDA as an additional examination in conjunction with screening mammography. The level of insurance coverage varies and patients are advised to check with their insurance providers prior to having the exam done.

Since June of 2014, more than 60 women have utilized this new technology. “We are looking forward to using this technology to service additional patients, as research tells us nearly 40 percent of women have dense-breast tissue,” said DeGuise.

For more information or to schedule an AWBUS appointment, call 989.583.6278.

The purchase of the AWBUS equipment was made possible by the generosity of Covenant HealthCare Foundation donors and Red Carpet events supporters and sponsors.

Additional information can be found at: http://www.covenanthealthcare.com/Uploads/ Public/Documents/Workfiles/2014/BHC_ DenseBreasts_ Know%20the%20Facts_ Flyer. pdf.

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