Carrie Cagnassola is a breast cancer survivor. But she believes her cancer could have been picked up earlier had she known an important fact about her breasts.
“It said, dense tissue, ultrasound may be required. I was never told I had dense tissue and I was never offered an ultrasound,” says Cagnassola.
In 2014 while on vacation with her children in Michigan, Carrie got the diagnosis: she had stage 3 breast cancer and it had spread into her lymph nodes. After chemotherapy, radiation and a double mastectomy she is now a survivor. But she also knows mammography alone was not the best option for dense breast tissue.
Forty percent of women have this same, generally benign condition.
Dr. Katy Patterson of IU Health, says mammography is still the gold standard. But everything in mammography shows up white, including glandular tissue and tumors. But she is excited about a new device debuting this month at IU Health: automated breast ultrasound. She believes this is the answer for patients like Carrie.
“It’s fast, it uses sound waves instead of radiation. It’s a comfortable procedure. It doesn’t require the same compression that a mammogram requires,” says Dr. Patterson.
Most importantly, Dr. Patterson says, automated breast ultrasound increases cancer detection in dense breast tissue patients, by 35 percent.
Carrie Cagnassola was instrumental in getting laws changed that forced doctors to notify patients that they have dense tissue. Now the technology is available to get an even more accurate ultrasound picture, which she believes will save lives.
“It makes it better for the next person,” says Carrie.
For more on automated breast ultrasound click on the link below.