New breast cancer detection technology brings ‘peace of mind’

LINCOLN, Nebraska (KOLN) – Lincoln Hospital was one of the first hospitals to introduce new technology in breast cancer screening. For many women, it captures something that traditional screenings might not.

Elizabeth of Chi St Lincoln now offers “ABUS” screening or automated breast ultrasound. It is a more accurate method to check for breast cancer in women with dense tissue.

Six years ago, Lori Borer discovered during a routine mammogram that she was one of the 40 percent of women in the United States with dense breasts.

The problem is that mammography techniques have a hard time distinguishing between dense tissue and breast cancer.

Borer must figure out what to do next to determine if she has cancer.

“We’ll decide to do it again, and if it’s another mammogram or an MRI, we’ll end up doing an MRI because the breasts are dense,” Borer said.

Borer didn’t have cancer and doesn’t now.

This year, she was one of the first patients in Lincoln to try the latest screening technology for women like her.

Six months ago, CHI launched “ABUS,” a machine that produces 3D images to help distinguish dense tissue from cancer cells.

“When I talk to my patients about dense tissue, I usually interpret it as a snowball,” says CHI Health Nurse Practitioner Mary Jane Glade. “So the denser your tissue, the more white in that snowball. So it’s really hard to look through it to find abnormalities.”

Glade said “ABUS” is not a replacement for mammography, but a supplemental screening. The FDA-approved noninvasive screening allowed them to detect 30 percent more of these abnormalities, she said.

Borer says she plans to have an “ABUS” screening every year and an annual mammogram, which gives her extra peace of mind.

“Knowing that you have dense breast tissue, you’re always nervous about it,” says Borer. “So it’s definitely reassuring to have a second line of defense around you. And just know how much it’s going to help find more cases.”

Glade is working with state Sen. Eliot Bostar on possible legislation that would require all insurers to pay for supplemental screenings for women with dense breasts.

Most insurers cover the screening, but for those with no or high deductibles, CHI offers a voucher that women can get the scan for $200, Glide said.

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