How to get involved
The Breast Center at Kansas University Cancer Center has been selected for a clinical research study on detecting breast cancer. To participate, you:
- must be 25 years old or older.
- have no symptoms of breast cancer or problems with the breast.
- need to have a screening mammogram at KU to determine the density of the breast tissue.
If you qualify for the Automated Breast Ultrasound, there is no cost. It will require a consent agreement, completing a questionnaire and the added ultrasound examination. The exam takes about 15 minutes. Participants also have to return to the Breast Center, 2330 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Suite 1102, in Westwood, for their next annual mammogram.
For more information, call 913-588-3414.
The Breast Center at Kansas University Cancer Center has been selected as one of just seven sites nationally for a major clinical research study.
The study is to determine whether adding an Automated Breast Ultrasound in patients with dense breasts will pick up more cancers than a routine mammogram by itself.
“We get to participate in an exciting breast cancer screening trial that’s kind of intellectually intriguing,” said Dr. Marc Inciardi, breast radiologist at KU Cancer Center and the principal investigator for the trial. “We are in this not only as a regular job; we are in it to advance the medical science, and the academics is why we are here. We want to push the envelope.”
The study is sponsored by U-Systems Inc., the developer of the 3D ultrasound breast imaging system, and is expected to enroll more than 20,000 participants nationally.
Inciardi said the equipment — which could prove life-saving — has been loaned to KU.
A woman’s breast density can interfere with a mammogram’s ability to detect breast cancer at more easily treatable stages. Research shows that women who have dense breasts are more likely to develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, about 400 women in Kansas die of breast cancer each year — about 15 of those in Douglas County.
The study began about a month ago, and so far, 90 patients have qualified for the ultrasound, which is free.
“It’s painless and it takes about 15 minutes or less, and it’s been well-tolerated,” Inciardi said.
Elsewhere, a similar study using a hand-held ultrasound was done with 2,800 high-risk patients, he said. In that study, doctors picked up 55 percent more cases of breast cancer than a mammogram alone.
But, he said, this study would be groundbreaking because it involves more patients, and it won’t be just highly trained technologists giving the ultrasounds.
“You don’t have to have a high degree of training to operate the equipment,” Inciardi said.
That’s important because if the study does eventually prove that the ultrasound improves detection, it could become a recommendation nationwide and currently there aren’t enough doctors to provide the tests, he said.
Automated Breast Ultrasound is FDA approved when used in combination with mammography. Unlike mammography, which uses radiation, ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of internal breast tissue. He estimated that an ultrasound could cost between $200 and $300.
In addition to KU, other sites currently recruiting patients are George Washington University in Washington, D.C., the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, and OSF Saint Francis Centers for Breast Health in Peoria, Ill. Others who have been selected, but aren't recruiting yet include Boca Raton Community Hospital in Boca Raton, Fla., Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City; and Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle.