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Why Mammography May Not Be Enough To Detect Breast Cancer In Dense Breasts

The first U.S installs of the Invenia ABUS system took place at the Breast Diagnostic Imaging Center in Fairfax, VA  outside of D.C. and the Phelps Memorial Hospital Center in NY.

Did you know that over 40% of women have dense breasts?  And that these women are 4-6x times more likely to develop breast cancer than women who don’t?1

Dense breast tissue is comprised of less fat and more connective/fibrous and glandular tissue. It is a major risk factor for breast cancer and not only increases the risk of breast cancer up to four to six times, but also makes cancer more difficult to detect using mammography, according to multiple large studies.One study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed mammography sensitivity is reduced by 36 to 38 percent in women with dense breasts, as density masks the appearance of tumors3

On a mammogram, dense tissue appears white and cancerous tumors appear white making it nearly impossible to “see” the tumor. Additional information can be found here

A new ultrasound screening device for women with dense breast, the Invenia ABUS by GE Healthcare, improves the ability to detect cancer when added to mammography. The company has announced the first U.S. installs of this system at both the Breast Diagnostic Imaging Center operated by Fairfax Radiological Consultants outside of D.C. and the Phelps Memorial Hospital Center in NY.

The device offers enhanced imaging to improve breast cancer detection by over 35% versus mammography alone with no radiation involved. It also improves the patient experience, using 3D technology to comfortably and quickly image women in approximately 15 minutes, with a new feature that conforms to a woman’s body for better comfort and image performance. Further, the system uses a feature called Compression Assist, which applies light levels of compression automatically to the breast for increased ease and image reproducibility, for a little extra comfort in a sensitive environment.

To celebrate the U.S. launch of the Invenia ABUS, Nancy Cappello, Ph.D., founder of Are You Dense and known breast cancer educator and advocate, joined GE Healthcare, physicians and medical office staff from the Washington, D.C. area, media, and dignitaries last week at an Open House event hosted by Fairfax Radiological Consultants at the Breast Diagnostic Imaging Center in Fairfax, VA outside of D.C. Dr. Cappello provided opening remarks. Despite regular mammograms, Dr. Cappello was diagnosed with advanced state breast cancer and has made it her mission to drive awareness about the risks involved with dense breasts and the importance of early detection in breast cancer.

Mammography for Women with Dense Breasts

A mammogram distinguishes the density of a woman’s breasts.A Radiologist determines the density of a woman’s breasts by examining a mammogram. Request a copy of your mammography report from your referring doctor. Make sure it is the report that is generated by the radiologist and not a ‘form’ letter. Read the report carefully & look for descriptions of your breast tissue. More information can be found here.

As an adjunct to mammography, ultrasound technology shown to find more breast cancers in women with dense breasts.

As an adjunct to mammography, ultrasound technology shown to find more breast cancers in women with dense breasts.




1 – Tabár L, et al. Swedish two county trial: impact of mammographic. 2011;260:658 63.
2 – Paragraph 5 from
3 – Boyd, et al, NEJM 2007:356:227-36M
4 – FDA PMA P110006 summary of safety and effectiveness.
5 –

More Information

Ultrasound screening device for dense breast

Are You Dense