Health Matters: FDA approves new technology to use with mammography

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Baptist Health is now offering new technology to help with breast cancer screening.

The tool will be used to help women who have dense breast tissue and those who are at a higher risk for developing breast cancer.

It’s the “Automated Breast Ultrasound System,” or ABUS.

It’s not necessarily for everyone, but some women will benefit from it.

“Unfortunately though, in women with dense breasts, sometimes there are small cancers that can hide on the mammogram. We catch a lot of them but not all of them,” explains Dr. Stephen Routon, Breast Imaging Radiologist.

That’s where ABUS comes in. Dr. Routon can use ABUS to look through an ultrasound and find potential small cancers that may not be seen in a regular mammogram because they are hidden by normal dense breast tissue.

“We got this technology in the spring, right around the time the pandemic hit, but we’ve been doing more and more patients since then, and already we found one cancer that was not on the mammogram,” Dr. Routon adds.

He points to other cases they’ve had where they found masses in some patients. This led to biopsies. Thankfully those turned out to be benign.

“The ABUS machine just places a plate over the breast and slowly takes images of the entire breast,” continues Dr. Routon.

ABUS is performed after the mammogram. It takes about 30 minutes. It’s not like a CT scan, MRI and there’s no radiation.

“I’ll tell all my patients, I want to find it before you do. I want to find it before it’s big because that’s when the best outcomes are,” Dr. Routon says.

And that’s the goal. Dr. Routon believes technology like ABUS is a game-changer and can help save lives.

If you have dense breast tissue or a family history of breast cancer, contact a doctor at Baptist Health to see if this technology can help.

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