The recognition of breast density as a crucial factor in cancer detection has led to a more personalized and comprehensive approach to breast cancer screening. At Sono Center in Pasadena, California, women can access one of the latest life-saving technologies — the SonoCine automated whole breast ultrasound (AWBUS). Developed by Dr. Kevin Kelly, founder of the center, SonoCine AWBUS uses advanced technology that is 300 percent more accurate than mammography when detecting small (1 cm or less) invasive cancers.
How SonoCine AWBUS Works
SonoCine AWBUS is a computer-guided ultrasound system designed to detect the lesions that mammography most frequently misses. The ultrasound technology captures thousands of high-resolution images covering the whole breast, including the underarm, clavicle, between the breasts, the sides of the breasts, and the back to the chest wall. The images are then pieced into a movie and read by a specially trained breast radiologist. AWBUS is not meant to replace mammography, which remains the primary screening tool, but is a complementary modality that offers numerous benefits in the early detection of breast cancer.
“SonoCine AWBUS is a non-invasive, radiation-free option that provides peace of mind to our patients and increases the detection of small invasive cancers, especially in women with dense breasts and implants,” says Dr. Edmond Ohanian, Medical Director at the Sono Center.
Women with dense breast tissue or implants benefit most from SonoCine AWBUS because it can be more difficult to detect abnormalities for these groups. Dense tissue and implants impact the sensitivity of mammography and its ability to produce clear images. SonoCine technology captures 100 percent of breast tissue and is FDA-cleared for all dense-breasted women. AWBUS can also provide a better view of suspicious areas that were initially seen on a mammogram.
The Importance of Knowing Your Breast Density
Breast density measures the amount of fibrous and glandular tissue (fibroglandular tissue) compared to fatty tissue in the breast. Dense breasts have a higher proportion of non-fatty tissue, which can make it more challenging to detect abnormalities on mammograms, as both cancerous and dense breast tissue appear white on the images. Women who have dense breast tissue are also in a higher risk bracket for developing breast cancer than women with less dense breast tissue.
“As a healthcare provider, I emphasize the importance of breast density awareness. Knowing one’s breast density level can make a significant difference in early breast cancer detection,” says Dr. Edmond Ohanian. “Many of our patients owe their survival to being informed about breast density and choosing comprehensive screening methods like SonoCine.”
Women typically learn about their breast density through mammogram reports. There are four categories of breast density that range from almost all fatty tissue to extremely dense tissue with very little fat. The radiologist who interprets the mammogram will determine which of the four categories best describes how dense the breasts are. Dense breast tissue is normal and common, with nearly half of women in their 40s having dense breasts.
Peace of Mind with Subspecialty AWBUS Interpretations
Breast imaging, whether mammography, ultrasound, MRI, or any other modality, is complex. Having breast imaging scans read by a subspecialty breast radiologist contributes to more accurate and reliable diagnoses, which, in turn, can lead to better patient care and outcomes. Sono Center and DocPanel have partnered to ensure subspecialty interpretations on all SonoCine AWBUS scans.
AWBUS scans performed at Sono Center are read by a specific subset of DocPanel breast radiologists specially trained to interpret the SonoCine AWBUS images. Familiarity with the intricacies of SonoCine’s unique technology enables them to confidently evaluate the images to detect cancerous lesions in their earliest and most treatable stages. Sono Center’s commitment to subspecialty interpretations gives patients in the LA area access to SonoCine’s advanced technology with the peace of mind that a specially trained breast radiologist will read their studies.
Determining If SonoCine AWBUS Is Right For You
AWBUS is recommended for women with dense breasts, implants, an abnormal mammogram result that requires follow-up, or for those who are at high risk of developing breast cancer. The first step is to ensure you have already received or are scheduled for your annual mammogram, as mammography remains the primary breast screening and diagnostic tool. Patients can then utilize SonoCine AWBUS technology to gain additional and valuable information that further evaluates the whole breast. Understanding the significant value that AWBUS offers when paired with mammograms is essential.
“By screening annually with both mammography and AWBUS, the detection rate and sensitivity of cancer detection is increased by approximately 25%,” says Breast Radiologist Dr. Caroline Moss, who provides interpretation coverage at Sono Center through the DocPanel platform. “The ACS recommends that all women over 40 obtain comprehensive breast health screening. Though, it should be emphasized that the best way to detect early cancers is with the combination of AWBUS and annual mammograms.”
You can discuss AWBUS with your primary provider or reach out to the Sono Center for more information. While a referral is not required to schedule an appointment with Sono Center, your provider can help you obtain a copy of your medical records and prior breast imaging to bring to your appointment.
Scheduling a SonoCine AWBUS Appointment
SonoCine AWBUS exam appointments can be scheduled directly through the Sono Center website. Information on pricing, insurance coverage, and what to expect during the exam can all be found on the site as well. For those living outside of the Los Angeles area, the SonoCine website offers a helpful tool to locate other imaging facilities that offer the advanced ultrasound technology.
About Sono Center
The Sono Center is located at 960 E Green St #166 in Pasadena, CA. You can reach their office at (626) 381-9430, or book an appointment here.