USC creates soothing technology to screen for breast cancer in women with denser breasts

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University of California Researchers are now testing a more soothing way to screen for breast cancer, and the new technology uses warm water. (KABC)

About 40 percent of women have dense breasts which makes it much more difficult to detect cancer on a mammogram.

University of California Researchers are now testing a more soothing way to screen for breast cancer, and the new technology uses warm water.

Rosie Diaz Navarro was about to undergo a different kind of breast cancer screening that uses a warm water bath and sound waves. There's no metal, no clamping and no radiation.

"It's a lot more comfortable than your normal mammogram," she said.

But that's because it's not a mammogram - it's an imaging test called Softvue.

The USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center cancer.keckmedicine.org is the first to recruit participants. It's designed for women with dense breast tissue, which makes reading mammograms more challenging.

The USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of the principle investigation sites.

"So the mammogram appears very white, and the problem is that cancer is white also. So it's very hard to see a white cancer on a white background," Dr. Linda Hovanessian Larsen said.

Larsen and her colleagues want to see if this whole breast ultrasound test will reduce the number of false positives that often lead to unnecessary biopsies.

"A false positive is like a false alarm. Your mammogram is abnormal, but you do not have breast cancer. So we're looking for better tests to improve breast cancer detection as well as reduce the number of false alarms," Larsen said.

The system uses suction and a soft gel pad to keep the breast centered. Inside, a 360-degree ring transducer images the breast in one pass.

"It's a picture from the front of the breast to the back of the breast in 1 millimeter slices," Larsen said.

Researchers are hoping to recruit 10,000 women. Candidates must have dense breasts and no cancer symptoms. Participants will undergo both a mammogram and Softvue.

Navarro said the exams gave her peace of mind.

"It's like coming to a spa and getting checked. Why wouldn't you want to come?" she said.

Anyone interested in the study can call (800) USC-CARE.
Related Topics:
healthCircle of Healthuscmedical researchbreast cancermammogramtechnologywomen's health
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