Supplemental screening recommended for women with dense breasts

There are 227,000 new cases of breast cancer each year with 40,000 deaths annually. Legislation now requires that women who show dense breast tissue on a mammogram be notified of this condition by their physician to determine if more testing is required.

The problem? This condition makes it more difficult to diagnose cancer on a mammogram: 40% of women have dense breasts and an additional 10%  have extremely dense breasts.

Dr. Katherine Willer, assistant professor of radiology at Upstate, cautions that women who do not have dense breasts can also be at risk for breast cancer. “All women are at risk of breast cancer and should consult with their primary care provider to assess individual cancer risk,” she advises.

For patients with dense breasts, Upstate offers tomosynthesis — a 3-D mammogram technology approved by the FDA in 2011— to increase the odds of detecting small tumors in women with dense breasts.

As an academic medical center, Upstate offers state-of-the art technology for screening and diagnosis. In addition to the 3-D tomosynthesis, other services include:

  • Routine screening and diagnostic mammograms
  • Screening and diagnostic ultrasound
  • Ultrasound-guided cyst aspirations and FNA's
  • Ultrasound-guided localizations for surgery
  • MRI screening, diagnostic imaging
  • PET scanning

For more information, or to make an appointment at the Upstate Women’s Imaging Center at 550 Harrison Center and Wellspring Breast Care Center at Upstate University Hospital Community campus, call 315-464-2588.