News and Information

CaroMont Offers Automated Breast Ultrasound


New Technology to Aid Cancer Screening in Women with Dense Breast Tissue

CaroMont Regional Medical Center is the first hospital in the North and South Carolina area to offer Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS), the only breast cancer screening technology specifically developed and FDA approved for women with dense breast tissue. ABUS helps doctors find cancers hidden in dense breast tissue, which may be missed by mammography. In partnership with Gaston Radiology, CaroMont began screening woman with this technology last week.

“CaroMont is proud to be the first to offer this potentially lifesaving screening, and our work with Gaston Radiology is an excellent example of how partnership with the medical community can have a very positive impact on patient care,” said Kathleen Besson, Chief Operating Officer at CaroMont Health. “Offering innovative technology is a cornerstone of great health care, and ABUS is, without a doubt, going to help many women in our community.”

So, why is ABUS important? More than 40% of women have dense breast tissue, and many may not know. North Carolina is one of 12 states in the U.S. to require health care facilities to share information regarding the patient’s individual breast density classification directly with the patient. This is based on the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System established by the American College of Radiology (BI-RADS®). The law, which became active on January 1, 2014, requires that every woman who has a mammogram be informed of her breast density. Previously, breast density information was only reported as part of the mammogram interpretation that was sent to the patient’s physician.

As required by the new law, women who have dense breast tissue will also receive the following statement in writing as part of their mammogram result: “Your mammogram indicates that you may have dense breast tissue. Dense breast tissue is relatively common and is found in more than forty percent (40%) of women. The presence of dense tissue may make it more difficult to detect abnormalities in the breast and may be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. We are providing this information to raise your awareness of this important factor and to encourage you to talk with your physician about this and other breast cancer risk factors. Together, you can decide which screening options are right for you. A report of your results was sent to your physician.”

“Dense tissue can make it difficult or even impossible to find cancer on a mammogram, and ABUS can find cancers in dense breast tissue that could be missed on a mammogram,” said Christopher W. Saltmarsh, MD, Radiologist at Gaston Radiology. “In fact, ABUS can come close to doubling the breast cancer detection rate for women with dense tissue. This will allow us to find small, curable cancers that would have been missed with mammography alone.”

As mentioned, CaroMont will be the first hospital in the area to offer this technology to women who will benefit from this kind of screening and image interpretation will be provided by Gaston Radiology.

“We are very excited to be able to offer this new service to the women of Gaston county and surrounding areas,” said Stephen J. Lostetter, MD, President of Gaston Radiology. “CaroMont Health has always provided the Radiologists at Gaston Radiology with the most advanced, cutting-edge technology to help in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. This is another example of our strong partnership advancing health care in our community.”

Women with extremely dense breast tissue have a greater risk of developing breast cancer than women who do not. Unlike mammography, which uses radiation, ABUS Screening uses sound waves to create 3D pictures of the breast tissue. If a woman is identified as having dense breast tissue, ABUS screening along with a screening mammogram will help provide a more accurate evaluation of breast health.

The full screening process takes less than 15 minutes and provides state-of-the-art 3D ultrasound images. The patient’s physician will then review the ABUS images along with the mammogram to provide guidance on additional testing or treatment.

To learn more about Automated Breast Ultrasound, speak with your doctor or call 704.834.2474.