I saw my friend, Lisa the other day, who wanted to talk about the new law that requires health care providers to notify women of what their breast density is. We talked about how an increased density in the breast not only makes it more difficult to detect breast cancer, but is in itself a risk factor for developing breast cancer.
She showed me a copy of her mammogram report that indicated that she had a breast density classification of 3. This is also known as a Bi-Rad classification.
Since many breast cancers appear white on a mammogram, in a dense breast, it can be impossible to see. For women with very dense breasts, we can use ultrasounds to detect distortions and breast cancer. In fact, there is a brand new FDA approved Automated Breast Ultrasound System (ABUS) that is even more sensitive than traditional hand held ultrasounds.
There are only a few centers in the US that have this new Automated Breast Ultrasound, and I helped Lisa make an appointment at El Camino Hospital, which will be starting to offer this in November, 2012.