I-Team Report: Fighting Breast Cancer - WNEM TV 5

I-Team Report: Fighting Breast Cancer

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You may have seen the commercial featuring Sheryl Crow, a breast cancer survivor, singing the praises of the Genius mammography.

It’s a cutting edge kind of mammography featuring something called Hologic 3-D technology. Supporters say it will detect breast cancer up to 40 percent faster than traditional 2D mammograms.

“It was a routine mammogram 10-years-ago that detected my breast cancer at stage one. And in 10 years the technology that’s developed is monumental,” said Crow.

As the I-Team found out, 3-D technology has revolutionized the way doctors detect breast cancer. It is especially valuable for women with what doctors call dense breast tissue. Women like Stephanie Sochaki.

“You can’t feel it, you know. You can do the self-breast exams in the shower, but you can’t feel my lump. It was the ultrasound that found it,” Sochaki said.

Sochaki is battling stage one breast cancer. Her chances of survival are strong thanks to early diagnosis. She benefited from an equally promising kind of test based not on radiation, but on ultrasound technology.

“Really what ABUS is, which is what this contraption is, is that ABUS is an ultrasound-based technology, which is used to augment conventional digital mammography,” said Dr. Tyer Jones, a Radiologist at McLaren Bay Diagnostic Center.

ABUS stands for Automated Breast Ultrasound. It produces 600 images that are reconstructed into a 3-D view that allows radiologists to see clearer images of the entire breast.

“It was the ultrasound that found it, and with it being stage 1, there are a lot more options for me that way,” said Sochaki.

It’s important to understand that the Automated Breast Ultrasound doesn’t replace a traditional mammogram, instead it’s the next step if you meet the requirements.

Michigan is one of 21 states that passed the Breast Density Notification Legislation in July 2015. It requires doctors to notify patients about having dense or fatty breast tissue. And if you meet the requirements, your insurance will cover the Automated Breast Ultrasound.

“So I got to really pre-plan things that you take for granted. On my bad day, it can be hard to get up, go to the bathroom and get a drink. It’s either I’m going to get up and get a drink, or I’m going to use the bathroom, or get something to eat. I can’t do all of it at once,” Sochaki told TV5.

Dr. Jones said women should focus on getting the basic mammogram first and worry about other options later, and the American Cancer Society in Flint agrees.

“It’s so early in the process of the new technology, we just recommend at least a 2-view mammogram,” said Shauntai Beaugard, a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society.

In the end, Sochaki said the bottom line for you is simple.

“Get your mammograms done. Especially if you have the family history. I was 39 when I got diagnosed.”

If someone in your family has or had breast cancer, talk to your doctor, you may qualify to have a mammogram test done earlier than the standard age of 40.

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