Eskenazi Health ABUS System Helps Diagnose Early Breast Cancer

A woman conducting self-examinations and getting annual mammograms, beginning in her early 40s, provides an effective approach to diagnosing breast cancer in its earliest stages, which if detected, greatly increases the odds of a successful recovery.

Unfortunately, the situation is much different for women with dense breast tissue because regular self-exams and mammograms may not be enough to ensure early detection and peace of mind.

“Women who have dense breast tissue have a higher risk of undetected breast cancer and there’s a higher chance that we’re not going to see their breast cancer on a mammogram,” said Dr. Katherine Patterson, a clinical radiologist with Eskenazi Health.

“Once a patient is found to have dense breast tissue on her mammogram, we offer an examination with our Automated Breast Ultrasound System (ABUS), which is an apparatus used for supplemental screening of breast cancer for women who have dense breast tissue,” Dr. Patterson said. “ABUS provides another layer of protection on top of the mammogram to detect early stage cancers that we might miss.”

Ultrasounds have been on the market for a long time and have gone through a number of trends regarding breast imaging and screening. Utilizing breast ultrasound screening as a supplement to mammography started around six years ago.

“In 2016, the Indiana Medical Licensing Board required us to notify patients with dense breast tissue and their doctors, and offer supplemental screening for those women, and that’s when we started looking into options for our patients for supplemental screening, Dr. Patterson said.”

Recent data reveals that utilizing the ABUS system increases cancer detection in women with dense breasts up to 55 percent and produces in the neighborhood of an additional 2-3 positive tests when used with mammography. Since acquiring the ABUS system, Eskenazi Health has performed approximately 100 ABUS screenings, and cancer has yet to be detected.

“The ABUS system gives me a feeling of comfort letting me know that with the technology we have today there’s something for people, such as myself, that’s more advanced to catch cancer in its earliest stages,” said Manethia Banks, a patient services assistant with Eskenazi Health, who was diagnosed with dense breast tissue. “With this procedure, you’re lying down flat, as opposed to standing and leaning into a machine like a mammogram, and it does not hurt at all. Early detection is the key to defeating breast cancer and the ABUS machine is really great for people like me.”

For women in Central Indiana, the St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild Diagnostic Breast Center at Eskenazi Health is an accredited full-service breast imaging center located on the fifth floor of the Sandra Eskenazi Outpatient Care Center at the Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital at 720 Eskenazi Ave. in Indianapolis.

Patients are referred to the breast center by their primary care providers, though a referral is not necessary to receive a screening mammogram. Please visit this link to schedule an appointment:


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