Automated Breast Ultrasound

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer may not cause any symptoms or signs in its early stages. Some breast lumps or other changes can be felt, but malignant tumors can only be detected using mammograms, MRI, ultrasound or other imaging procedures. Here are some warning signs of breast cancer:

  • New lump in the underarm or breast
  • Swelling or thickening of part of the breast
  • Dimpling or irritation of breast skin
  • Flaky skin or redness in the breast or nipple area
  • Pain in the nipple area
  • Nipple pulling in
  • Nipple discharge other than breastmilk
  • Breast pain

Not all breast lumps are cancer, but only a doctor can confirm it. While some women diagnosed with breast cancer will experience breast pain, breast pain is not usually a cancer sign. Fluctuating hormones, wrong bra support, injury and other factors may cause pain. Go to a doctor if you feel a lump in your breast or other abnormalities. Your doctor may order imaging procedures to confirm the diagnosis.

What Is Automated Breast Ultrasound Screening?

ABUS breast ultrasound is a secondary breast cancer screening test that can help detect possible cancers concealed in dense breast tissue. ABUS is done in addition to and not a substitute for mammogram. ABUS breast screening helps to visualize the different types of breast tissue. The breast is made up of the following tissues:

  • Fibrous tissue – a connective tissue that holds the breast tissue in place.
  • Glandular tissue – the tissue that produces milk.
  • Fatty tissue – fills the space between the fibrous and glandular tissues. It also gives the breast its size and shape.

Dense breasts mean you have more fibroglandular tissue (combination of fibrous and glandular tissues) than fatty tissues. Having dense breasts is not a medical condition and does not cause symptoms. It’s also not possible to tell if you have dense breasts by simply feeling it. Only a mammogram can determine breast density.

An ABUS screening may be done after a mammogram to further check dense breasts for possible cancer.

What To Expect During ABUS?

  1. You will lie down on your back during the ABUS procedure.
  2. Lotion will be applied on your breasts to help improve the contact between your skin and the ABUS transducer.
  3. The transducer, a handheld device, will be moved over the breasts to take images of the breasts at different angles. This process may take about 10 minutes. It’s normal to feel gentle pressure on the breast during this process, but they will not be compressed as they are during a mammogram.
  4. The Radiologist will view the ABUS-generated images along with your previous mammography results to ensure every area of your breast is thoroughly examined.

What Is the Difference Between a Mammogram and a Breast Ultrasound?

ABUS is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a supplementary screening tool, not a diagnostic imaging exam, for breast cancer in addition to mammography. Mammography is still the standard breast cancer diagnostic test, but it may not be enough for patients with dense breasts. An ABUS screening does not replace regular mammograms.

The benefits of ABUS include: 

  • Minimal compression for less discomfort
  • No radiation risk
  • Non-invasive screening
  • Increased cancer detection in dense breasts

When Do You First Get Screened for Breast Cancer?

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that women with an average risk for breast cancer begin mammograms at age 40 to 74 years old. Women should talk to their doctor about how often they should get a mammogram.

Make Time for Breast Cancer Detection

A mammogram or ABUS cannot prevent breast cancer, but they can help detect the disease at its early stages when it’s easier to treat. Discuss with your doctor whether mammograms, ABUS or other screening tests may be right for you, their benefits and potential risks and when you should have them. To schedule an appointment or learn about our automated whole breast ultrasound locations, call 833-227-6959 or click the button below.

Schedule a Mammogram

American Cancer Society
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Food and Drug Administration
National Cancer Institute
National Library of Medicine
Northwest Community Healthcare