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Spotlight On Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound (ABUS) Screenings

Breasts are composed of a mixture of fat and breast tissue. When a woman's breasts contain more breast tissue than fat, they are considered dense. Dense breast tissue is a natural characteristic, much like having green eyes or brown hair. It's also quite common, affecting 40% of women nationwide. In the Gunnison Valley, this statistic is even higher, with over 50% of women having dense breast tissue.

Breast density is determined by the radiologist who reads your mammogram. On a mammogram, both dense tissue and masses appear white, which can make it difficult to detect a suspicious lump hidden within the dense tissue. This challenge underscores the importance of advanced screening techniques to ensure early detection and effective treatment.

While having dense breast tissue is normal, it does come with an increased risk of breast cancer, elevating the risk by 4 to 6 times. This reality underscores the importance of advanced screening techniques to ensure early detection and effective treatment.

Thanks to the generosity of Gunnison Tough, Gunnison Valley Health offers supplemental Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS) screenings for women with dense breast tissue. ABUS is the only FDA-approved ultrasound device specifically designed for breast cancer screening in asymptomatic women with dense breast tissue, making it a crucial tool in our healthcare arsenal.

When dense tissue is scanned with ABUS, the tissue appears white and masses appear black, making them easier to see. This technology enables radiologists to look through the dense layers of tissue, increasing the likelihood of detecting cancers that might have been missed on a traditional mammogram. Unlike routine breast ultrasounds, the images from ABUS provide a comprehensive view, giving physicians the ability to review extensive data volumes and potentially detect more breast cancers.

It's important to note that the recommendation for an ABUS screening does not imply that the radiologist identified any areas of concern on your mammogram. ABUS screenings are supplemental screenings recommended specifically for women with dense breast tissue to provide an extra layer of assurance.

Gunnison Tough and Gunnison Valley Health are committed to ensuring that all residents in Gunnison and Hinsdale counties have access to comprehensive breast screening services. If you do not have insurance, let our admissions team know and support from Gunnison Tough and the Gunnison Valley Health Foundation is available.