ARA Supplemental Breast Screening Program
The goal of the supplemental breast screening program at ARA is to improve detection of breast cancer. Studies have shown that in women with dense breasts, a combination of mammography plus supplemental screening provides the highest rate of breast cancer detection. This improvement in detection is especially important for women who are at increased risk of developing breast cancer during their lifetime. Certain factors such as the BRCA gene mutation and having a first degree relative with breast cancer are known to be associated with a higher risk of developing breast cancer. For women with these risk factors, greater vigilance is needed to screen for cancer. The supplemental screening program provides that greater vigilance.
To learn more about the specific exams, visit the following links:
The program consists of the following components:
- Identification of women who may benefit from supplemental screening
- ARA will be installing a software based service that will calculate a woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. This service will be provided at the time of the woman’s screening mammogram. Until this service is available, risk calculators are available online that can calculate a woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. Click here for the National Cancer Institute breast cancer risk calculator.
- ARA radiologists already evaluate the density of the breasts on mammograms and identify those women who have dense breasts.
- Notification of women who may benefit from supplemental screening
- A statement about the density of a woman’s breasts will be included in the mammography report sent to the woman’s health care provider.
- After ARA has implemented the software to calculate risk of developing breast cancer, the mammography report will include an assessment of the woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast cancer.
- By using the breast density information and the risk assessment provided by either ARA or an online risk calculator, the woman and her health care provider can discuss whether supplemental screening is appropriate for her.
- Provision of supplemental screening services
- ARA recommends two imaging modalities, MRI and MBI, which have been shown to provide superior breast cancer detection when used in conjunction with yearly screening mammograms.
- ARA is also able to provide screening breast ultrasound on a case by case basis, but studies to date have shown a substantially lower cancer detection rate and an unacceptably high false positive rate for a screening breast ultrasound. We therefore do not recommend this modality except in special circumstances.
- In addition to providing supplemental screening exams for patients who are identified in the ARA program, we provide supplemental screening services for women who are identified outside our program, and we can integrate our services with other providers in order to accommodate women who receive their mammograms at other facilities.