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Comprehensive screening for dense breast tissue.

Breasts are made of fat and breast tissue. When there is more breast tissue than fat, breasts are considered to be dense. Having dense breast tissue is normal; it is a part of you, like having green eyes or brown hair. Dense breast tissue is common; 40% of women have dense breast tissue. Here in the Gunnison Valley, it is even more common; more than 50% of women have dense breast tissue. Having dense breast tissue may also increase the risk of developing breast cancer 4 to 6 times.

ABUS screenings use sound waves to create 3D pictures of the breast tissue. This allows radiologists to look through hundreds of breast tissue image "slices", looking at layers of dense tissue to find breast cancers which may have been missed on a mammogram. This is different than routine ultrasound of the breasts since the images from ABUS allow physicians to review volumes of data which may result in the ability to detect more breast cancers.

ABUS screenings + mammography increases cancer detection.

Breast density is determined by the radiologist who reads your mammogram. On a mammogram, dense tissue and masses both appear white, so a suspicious lump may be hidden in dense tissue. When dense tissue is scanned with the ABUS, tissue appears white and masses appear black – making them easier to see.

It is important to know that the recommendation for an ABUS screening doesn't mean that the radiologist identified any areas of concern on your mammogram. ABUS screenings are supplemental screenings recommended for women with dense breast tissue.

Do you have questions about breast density?

Take a look at our breast density information sheet.

Breast Density Facts

Identifying the right care based on your unique needs.

There are a number of factors that the radiologist considers when recommending supplemental breast screenings. Generally speaking,

  • Women with dense breast tissue and a high lifetime cancer risk are recommended to receive a breast MRI as a supplemental screening. Your lifetime cancer risk is calculated based on a number of factors including your cancer history and familial cancer history.
  • Women with dense breast tissue and a low lifetime cancer risk are recommended to receive an ABUS screening as a supplemental screening.

Each person is unique and our radiology team will evaluate each person's needs based on their specific medical history.

Partnership with Cattlemen's Days Tough Enough to Wear Pink

Funding for our Invenia ABUS 2.0 machine was generously donated by Cattlemen's Days Tough Enough to Wear Pink. Tough Enough To Wear Pink is committed to ensure that all residents in the Gunnison Valley and Hinsdale counties have access to comprehensive breast screening services. If you do not have insurance, let our admissions team know and support from Tough Enough to Wear Pink and the Gunnison Valley Health Foundation is available.

To schedule an appointment or for more information contact the Gunnison Valley Health Radiology Department at (970) 641-7253.

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