New technology offers more accurate mammogram results for women with dense breast tissue

A new machine at St. Vincent Hospital is the first of its kind to truly see all the way through breasts to detect cancer.

The game changing technology is called the abbreviated breast MRI. It's the latest magnetic beast in detecting breast cancer in women with dense breast tissue.

"For these women we're offering this test, it's about 10 minutes in length and it is able to increase the ability to see through the breast tissue and diagnosis masses and breast cancers that may be obscured by dense breast tissue on mammogram," Dr. Kristen Govert said.

About 50% of women have dense breast tissue. But what exactly does that mean? No, it doesn't depend on your weight or size of your breasts and you just can't feel for it. It can only be determined by a mammogram screening.

A recent St. Vincent patient requested the new abbreviated breast MRI after her mammogram revealed she had dense breast tissue which shows up white on the test results. Well, breast cancer also shows up as a white blob so it can be hidden. The abbreviated breast MRI showed she had an invasive breast cancer that was missed on her mammogram.

"But it does pick up an additional 15 to 40 breast cancers per 1,000 women screened and that works out to about 150% more," Dr. Govert said.

In Indiana, when a woman gets her mammogram results it tells you the accuracy is decreased if you have dense breast tissue which increases your risk of breast cancer.

"This is a test that allows you to have that peace of mind saying that you know I've had both my mammogram and my MRI if they didn't see anything on either test can really help to put your mind at ease," Dr. Govert said.

St. Vincent is the only hospital in the state with this technology. It’s so new insurance doesn’t cover it yet. It costs $299 out of pocket. But if you need a regular breast exam, St. Vincent offers those for free. You can contact St. Vincent Carmel (317-582-9355) and St. Vincent Indianapolis (317-338-9300) for more information.

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