Automated whole breast ultrasound

Author(s): Tran Seaton, Ying Chen, Siham Sudderuddin, Francine Mulenga, Hema Purushothaman, William Svensson, Adrian Lim

Hospital: Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust

Reference: RAD Magazine, 41, 485, 23-24


Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the UK and the second leading cause of death after lung cancer. Mammography remains the gold standard for breast cancer screening with sensitivity around 85%, however in patients with dense breasts, the sensitivity drops to 68%. Breast density is an independent risk factor for developing breast cancer irrespective of other known risk factors. Women with extremely dense breast (>75% fibroglandular tissue) have a four to five times greater risk of developing breast cancer relative to women with fatty breasts (<25% fibroglandular tissue). It is estimated that up to 50% of women have dense breasts (>50% fibroglandular tissue) on mammography.

In 24 states in the USA, there is legislation enforcing that a woman be informed if she has dense breasts following her mammogram so she can decide whether to have additional imaging. This has contributed towards the need for supplementary screening tools. There is currently no consensus as to which modality to use and the options include ultrasound, MRI and digital breast tomosynthesis.

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