Did you know over a lifetime that one in eight women living in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer? Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers. Thankfully, the death rate from breast cancer has declined 39 percent from 1989 through 2015. While there have been advancements in breast cancer treatment, this decline has largely been due to early detection through breast imaging, the mainstay of which is mammography. Despite this remarkable achievement, over 40,000 breast cancer deaths occurred in 2017. Why? One of the main reasons is that mammograms have a difficult time detecting early cancers in women with dense breasts. For more on this important topic, read on.
What is breast density and why is it important to know if you have dense breasts? Breast density refers to the appearance of breast tissue on a mammogram. Breast tissue is composed of fibroglandular tissue (dense tissue) and fatty tissue. When viewed on a mammogram, women with dense breasts have more dense tissue than fatty tissue. A radiologist determines if you have dense breasts. Having dense breasts is normal and common, affecting about 50% of women age 40 and over. It is important to know if you have dense breasts for two reasons. First, it may increase your breast cancer risk, particularly if you have extremely dense tissue. Second, dense tissue can hide or mask a breast cancer in the earliest stages, when there is the best chance for cure with the least amount of treatment. Women with dense breasts may consider additional screening options to improve their chances of finding an early breast cancer. We currently recommend breast MRI.
Breast MRI is by far the most advanced imaging tool currently available for finding early stages of cancer and has proven to detect 4 times more breast cancers than mammograms alone. Breast MRI is not affected by dense breast tissue, does not require breast compression and does not use any radiation. However, due to its high cost, breast MRI is less commonly used for routine screening. In an effort to bring this powerful technology to women with dense breasts, Via Radiology offers a new lower cost breast MRI exam, called Abbreviated Breast MRI (AB-MR) , also referred to as “Fast Breast MRI”. Importantly, AB-MR is just as effective in detecting breast cancer as the much more expensive standard version of breast MRI.
Via Radiology, working together with the Seattle Breast Center, provides a full range of breast imaging services, including screening and diagnostic mammography, breast ultrasound, breast MRI, and image-guided needle biopsy of the breast..
Via Radiology-Meridian Pavilion, providing a full range of outpatient medical imaging services in Seattle, is pleased to offer AB-MR for breast cancer screening only at an out of pocket cost of $495 (some insurance carriers may cover all or a portion of this cost). Call 206-306-1011 or contact us online for more information. We also provide x-ray, ultrasound, MRI, CT , PET/CT , varicose vein therapy, vertebroplasty/kyphoplasty and other spine and joint injection procedures.