Radiation-Free Screening for Breast Cancer
1st Year Anniversary of ABUS in Canada
For one year Automated Breast Ultrasound Screening (ABUS) has been servicing Canadian women looking for a safe, comfortable alternative (or additional test) to a mammogram.
ABUS is ultrasound, and not thermography, which measures the function of the breast from the heat emitting from the skin. Abnormal thermographic scans of the breast demonstrate abnormal areas of heat indicating something might be wrong with the physiology of the breast; however there is not much information about the anatomy of the lesion.
Unlike thermography, ABUS can differentiate cysts, fibro adenomas, cancer and infections. Diagnosis of breast cancer typically occurs when a painless one-sided lump is discovered, and that discovery is often made by women during self-exam or, if over 40, during a routine screening mammogram. But there are weaknesses in these two methods. Self-exam may not discover lumps if they are deep in the breast or until they are already large, and there are several drawbacks with mammograms. For many women they are painful. They involve an exposure to radiation and are less effective for women who have ‘dense’ breast tissue.
“Although we had expected many clients would come after mammography as a result of finding out they were dense-breasted , what surprised us was the large number of concerned women coming in to use ABUS as a first screening in younger years, and the high number of referrals from the holistic community (such as naturopathic doctors, and the like).” states VIP Breast Imaging CEO Ward Sullivan. “It seems the holistic community has really grabbed on to ABUS as it is radiation-free and yet is read by a qualified radiologist, and generates a medical report accepted by both the mainstream medical, and natural health community.”
ABUS is not a mammogram, but rather a high resolution 3D image of the breast utilizing ultrasound technology. So it is 100% radiation free and non-invasive. Unlike previous ultrasound technology, which could only see part of the breast, ABUS images the whole breast. The imaging process is automated, thereby eliminating potential human error. In one sweep, ABUS is able to take up to 600 cross-section images of breast tissue and captures images approximately every two millimeters. ABUS has the ability to capture precise anatomical detail of complex breast tissues and structures.
The process does not require extreme compression of the breast, as a mammogram does, so it is comfortable. ABUS can be used safely and as often as required or desired for younger, pregnant, lactating, post-operative women who are high risk and those who would otherwise be averse to receiving a radiation dose from a mammogram. ABUS is also effective for women with implants.
Waiting times for MRI scans are extremely long and require a doctor’s referral whereas ABUS can be accessed with no doctor referral. Due to demand, VIP has opened a second clinic in Thornhill, and another in Vancouver. ABUS seems to be a valuable screening tool that fulfils a need in the fight against breast cancer. Get scanned, young or old – it just may save your life through early detection.