For example, those women who are at moderately increased risk for breast cancers — because of dense breasts, or a family history — might gain more benefit from 3-D mammography than women who are at lower risk. Cancer society guidelines recommend screening with expensive magnetic resonance imaging for women at very high risk of breast cancer because they have one of the inherited breast cancer gene mutations.
Ultrasound screening could soon become another widespread option for women with dense breasts. Radiologists currently perform a time-consuming ultrasound screening on some women with dense breasts using a hand-held device that requires a technician’s expertise. But a new automated ultrasound device that received FDA approval in September for women with dense breast tissue could make this screening easier. Like 3-D mammography, it also reduces the callback rate for false findings and has the potential to find cancers earlier.
So far, the technology hasn’t become available in the Boston area, but GE Healthcare acquired the company that makes the device last month and projects sales of 5,000 scanners nationwide within the next several years.