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Raising the Bar in Cancer Detection at RCI

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the world has turned pink as we honor those affected by this disease and work toward a cancer-free future. While rocking the pink is a great way to show your support, this month is also an important time to educate yourself and others about breast cancer and what can be done to find it earlier, when successful treatment is more likely. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re sharing some information from the front lines of breast cancer early detection – including a new imaging technology now available through MRI Associates.

Why mammograms matter While mammograms cannot prevent breast cancer, they do help to detect breast cancer in the earliest stages. Detecting breast cancer early means it will be easier for physicians to treat. Did you know that an estimated 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer over the course of their lifetime? Despite common assumptions, most women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease. Mammograms matter simply because they have the power to save lives.

Importance of Breast Density Mammography providers are now required to inform women about their breast density. Knowing whether you have dense breast tissue is important because dense breast tissue can mask cancer from being detected on your mammogram. Furthermore, having dense breast tissue increases your risk of developing breast cancer. Dense breast tissue appears white on a mammogram, which is the same color as cancers or other breast growths, while fatty tissue appears as gray. Breast tissue density is determined by the radiologist who reads the mammogram; it is not a measure of breast firmness. A mammogram is the only tool that can determine breast density. Dense tissue is relatively common and found in more than forty percent of women.

New Breast Imaging Technology Targets Hard to Detect Cancers With mammography as the cornerstone of regular screening for breast health, it is important for women to be aware of available examinations that supplement mammograms in the detection of breast cancer, when you have dense breast tissue. If you have dense breast tissue, talk to your doctor. Together you can decide if additional screening exams can benefit you.

Automated Breast Ultrasound - ABUS Automated Breast Ultrasound is an FDA-approved, non-invasive, ultrasound procedure that scans the breast tissue using sound wave technology. The images allow our physicians (radiologists) to view the breast tissue in 3D planes. The imaging allows for thorough visualization of the breast tissue, overcoming overlapping of tissue.

Fast Breast MRI Fast Breast MRI is the latest advancement in breast cancer screening and is now available at RCI in conjunction with MRI Associates. MRI is the most accurate test for early detection of breast cancer. Fast Breast MRI, or Abbreviated Breast MRI, was developed for women with dense breasts who want to undergo additional screening. It is a much shorter, lower cost version of a traditional Breast MRI while maintaining the same accuracy. Fast breast MRI does not require breast compression, does not use radiation and the accuracy is not affected by breast density. The accuracy of Fast Breast MRI is much higher than breast ultrasound and has less false positives. The current recommendations for patients that have a negative screening FAST Breast MRI is a follow up exam in 2-3 years depending on your age.

It is important to note that currently there is no insurance coverage for the Fast Breast MRI exam and payment will be requested at the time of service.

Please remember, ABUS and Fast Breast MRI do NOT replace mammography for breast cancer screening. Together, the mammogram and supplemental screening exams help detect more breast cancers and also help reduce the chances that you will be called back for additional imaging based on your breast cancer screening exams.

It is important to note that not all insurance companies will cover the cost of supplemental screening exams. Patients are encouraged to check with their insurance companies prior to scheduling a supplemental screening study. Contact RCI for scheduling, pricing and payment options for these exams.

Recommended guidelines for mammography RCI follows guidelines from the American College of Radiology and Mayo Clinic, which recommends a screening mammogram every year for women, beginning at age 40. Patients should consult with their doctor about having earlier screenings if they have a family history of breast cancer.

Ask your doctor for a referral to RCI, 1948 First Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids, or call for an appointment at 319-364-0121. See more at:

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