NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – When it comes to beating cancer, early detection is vital. At Baptist Health, a new test is catching breast cancer earlier than ever before.
At the Baptist Health Breast Center in North Little Rock, doctors are always racing against the clock.
“The whole name of the game in breast cancer screening is early detection,” Baptist Health Breast Imaging Radiologist Dr. Stephen Routon said.
Dr. Routon said it all starts with a mammogram to not only find cancer but determine things like breast density.
“Breast cancer develops out of that breast tissue and so women with denser breast tissue do have a higher instance of breast cancer,” Dr. Routon said.
He said cancer is also harder to find in denser breasts with just a mammogram.
“There are some types of cancers that can more easily hide under the breast tissue,” Routon said.
Now there’s a new tool for doctors called ABUS. It’s an ultrasound that looks beneath the tissue to catch cancer in its tracks.
“We have many patients that now we’ve found cancers that I wouldn’t otherwise detect with mammograms for potentially another year or two,” Routon said.
Donna Dunn is one of those patients.
“I got my regular mammogram reminder notice in the mail and at the very bottom it said I had dense breasts and I was eligible for a new test,” Dunn said.
She said it was a no-brainer.
“Look if this can catch cancer sooner, I want that test and so I was insistent at that point,” Dunn said.
She showed no signs or symptoms but ABUS confirmed she did in fact have breast cancer.
“It was devastating, very devastating,” Dunn said.
Luckily, they caught it early. She was stage 1A
“I was very lucky because it was an aggressive cancer,” Dunn said.
“When I’m finding things small and they are treatable, I know that this isn’t a death sentence,” Routon said. “This is beatable.”
Now on the other side, Dunn said without this new test she might not be there for her kids and grandkids.
“This time next year we would have a total different outcome, a whole total different story,” Dunn said. “I may be fighting for my life if I was alive.”
She has a message for all women eligible.
“Get it done. It will save your life,” Dunn said.