How new breast health technology is reducing screening and treatment stress

This content is sponsored by Adventist HealthCare

Breast health is an important part of a woman’s overall well-being, but the process of monitoring your breast health can be a bit overwhelming or scary.

“Annual mammography screenings and well-woman visits can be stressful, particularly if you have a personal or family history of breast cancer,” says Surupa Sen Gupta, MD, breast surgeon with Adventist HealthCare Adventist Medical Group. “But luckily, there’s new technology for breast cancer detection and treatment today that helps eliminate some of that extra stress.”

Hi-Tech Screenings

Mammograms are the most common screening tool for breast cancer. A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray of the breast that can show abnormalities not typically detected during a clinical or self-breast exam.

A newer, better mammogram, called breast tomosynthesis or 3D mammography, is now available that can help increase the detection of breast cancer by 30 percent when compared to the standard 2D mammograms.

“3D mammograms provide higher-quality images, allowing radiologists to view breast tissue one layer at a time, which creates a more detailed look at the breast,” says Sonya Kella, MD, director of Women’s Imaging with Adventist HealthCare. “Because of this, they can also reduce false positives and the chance of patients receiving a callback.”

It’s recommended that women begin their yearly screenings at age 40, but women at high risk due to family history or genetics should talk with their doctor about starting earlier.

New Breast Surgery Technology

In late 2018, the Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Breast Center introduced a new technology called the SAVI SCOUT®. This new option is available for women to remove breast cancer or other non-cancerous breast abnormalities.

The SAVI SCOUT is an alternative to the traditional wire localization methods of locating abnormal breast tissue. In the past, these methods required an additional procedure on the day of surgery.

Unlike the wire localization method, the SAVI SCOUT can be placed days or weeks prior to surgery in an outpatient facility—like the Shady Grove Breast Center—reducing stress on the day of for patients.

The SAVI SCOUT, a small reflector the size of a grain of rice, is inserted at the site of the abnormal tissue, then located on the day of surgery using a device similar to an ultrasound probe.

“When a patient undergoes surgery for abnormal or cancerous tissue, it’s understandably a very stressful time,” Dr. Sen Gupta says. “The SAVI SCOUT allows us to make the day of surgery much easier, reducing wait times and additional pain, giving our patients a much better experience.”

Targeted Breast Cancer Treatment

Adventist HealthCare also offers another technology for breast cancer treatment, Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation, or, APBI.

“APBI is available for very specific patients, but for those who qualify, it can decrease the time of necessary radiation from three or more weeks to just five days,” Dr. Sen Gupta says.

APBI is targeted radiation, localized to the spot of the cancerous tissue or mass. After surgery to remove the breast cancer, patients have a catheter placed in their breast surgeon’s office, then receive a 5-day course of the targeted radiation.

APBI can only be offered to patients who meet the strict criteria: being 45-50 years of age or older, having smaller, early-stage cancers and no lymph node disease. However, for those who are eligible, complications tend to be less than that of traditional radiation. There’s also no increased risk to the patient in having the radiation localized.

“New technology is always developing, particularly in the area of breast cancer treatment,” Dr. Sen Gupta says. “There’s still a long way to go, but the technology that we do have is changing lives every day.”

To learn more about your breast health, take our free and fast breast cancer risk assessment here. 

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