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UT Health Northeast - New Screening Option for Women with Dense Breast Tissue

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Proven to Increase Cancer Detection by Almost 36%

Tyler, TX – Historically, technology has been the limiting factor when it came to early cancer detection for women who have dense breast tissue. Recently, officials with UT Health Northeast announced that new breast cancer screening technology, which can increase early detection for those women by up to 36%, is now available on the UT Health campus.

The Invenia™ Automated Breast Ultrasound System (ABUS), made by GE and approved by the FDA for breast cancer screening as an adjunct to mammography, recently went online at the UT Health Breast Center.

“Mammography is an effective tool for the detection of breast cancer, but it doesn’t work equally well in all women, particularly those with dense breast tissue,” said Don Wells, MD, a radiologist in the UT Health Breast Center. “By including Invenia with mammography for our patients with dense breast tissue, we anticipate improving detection for small cancers that cannot always be seen on a mammogram. We expect it to become an integral part of our practice for the detection of breast cancer.”

Wells said that dense breast tissue not only increases the risk of breast cancer up to 4-6 times, but it also makes cancer more difficult to detect using mammography. A recent HealthConnectionTV post features Dr. Wells answering questions about ABUS technology and breast health.

One study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed mammography sensitivity is reduced by 36 to 38 percent in women with dense breasts because density masks the appearance of tumors. As breast density goes up, the accuracy of mammograms goes down.

According to GE, research shows that ABUS technology as an adjunct to mammography has the potential to find 35.7 percent more cancers than would have been found with mammography alone.

Wells recommends that women get regular mammograms as suggested by their doctor, and if they have been informed that they have dense breast tissue, they should talk to their doctor about their specific risks and additional screening tests that might be appropriate.

The ABUS system adds another option to the UT Health Northeast Breast Center’s comprehensive technology, including digital 2- and 3-dimensional mammography, regular and 3D ultrasound, molecular breast imaging, and breast MRI.

To make an appointment at the Breast Center at UT Health Northeast, call (903) 877-7000. For more information on the Invenia ABUS system, or other technology available at UT Health, visit uthealth.org.


For 65 years, UT Health Northeast has provided excellent patient care and cutting-edge treatment, specializing in pulmonary disease, cancer, heart disease, primary care, and the disciplines that support them. UT Health Northeast’s annual operating budget of $170 million represents a major economic impact of over $350 million for the Northeast Texas region. Since 2002, scientists in the Center for Biomedical Research have been awarded more than $120 million in research dollars. As the university medical center for Northeast Texas, its graduate medical education programs – with residencies in family medicine and occupational medicine – provide doctors for many communities throughout the region and beyond. UT Health Northeast is also the program sponsor of the residency program in internal medicine at Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview. For more information, visit uthealth.org.