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New technology helping Missoula hospital screen for breast cancer

St. Patrick Hospital machine uses 3D technology
Automated Breast Ultrasound System
Posted at 8:57 AM, Nov 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-20 10:57:29-05

St. Patrick Hospital recently installed a machine that is changing the way breast cancer is detected in women.

The Automated Breast Ultrasound System (A-BUS) obtains a three-dimensional image of the breast, something that doctors at the Missoula hospital have never been able to do before.

While A-BUS is a supplemental screening for mammography, it has the potential to find 35.7% additional cancers that otherwise wouldn’t be found with mammography alone.

Medical Director Dr. Zimmer emphasized that this technology isn’t for everyone -- it’s specifically used on women with dense breast tissue.

“It is not revolutionizing breast imaging, but it is a way that is allowing us to individualize mammography screening for women,” Dr. Zimmer explained. “It is an adjunct to mammography, and it has no radiation, it’s minimal compression, and the exam takes about 20-to-30 minutes to obtain.”

Dr. Zimmer recommends that women get regular mammograms as suggested by their doctor, and if they have been informed that they have dense breast tissue, they should talk to their doctor or radiologist about their specific risk and additional screening tests that might be appropriate.

The American College of Radiology advocates that women over the age of 40 complete a screening mammography annually.