It is well known that early detection leads to better outcomes when it comes to breast cancer. For the average woman without a family history of breast cancer, it's recommended to start screening with your first mammogram at age 40. But for many of us, waiting that long would be problematic.
In my case, extensive calcifications or DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma in Situ) were found on my very first mammogram at age 43. Due to the large size (8cm - yep, that’s big), a breast surgeon later told me it could have been growing for 20 years! I’ll admit I was a few years late getting my first mammogram, but even so, would it have made a difference if I had detected it at 35? Could I have avoided a double mastectomy, chemo or radiation? Probably. But I try not to dwell on that and instead focus on spreading the word about prevention to others.
That’s why I was so excited to learn about another radiation-free screening option for women with dense breast tissue that can be started as early as 25 — no doctor’s prescription needed. To learn more, I visited SonoBreasts, an ultrasound clinic in Santa Monica, for an exam and Q&A with clinic founder and technician, Jasmine Korsandi, about an advanced ‘whole breast ultrasound’ technology called SonoCiné.
Below are some excerpts from my conversation with Jasmine about SonoCiné and breast cancer prevention.
What makes the SonoCiné ultrasound unique?
The SonoCiné is an automated whole breast ultrasound and it records 3k images of your breast tissue. It’s really important because it covers your lymph nodes, your breast tissue, on top of tissue and in between your breasts. It’s very thorough.
What drew you to this technology?
When I started in my career 7 years ago, I was working at other imaging centers and the technologist would pick up the probe and scan the patient by hand focusing on positions 12, 1, 3, 6, 9 — it was a guessing game that was very technician dependent. And there’s a high probability that something can be missed if you’re holding the probe yourself. So, I’ve always enjoyed scanning with the SonoCiné because I can sleep with the peace of mind knowing that every single inch of tissue has been covered.
Who would you recommend to get the SonoCiné Ultrasound? Is it for everyone?
SonoCiné is for everyone. I highly recommend it to anyone who has a pair of tatas. Because it gives off zero radiation and there’s no smooshing of the breasts. I even recommend women get scanned as early as age 25 just to get a baseline.
How early can you detect breast cancer with the SonoCiné?
With the SonoCiné, I can detect breast cancer as small as 2mm which is super early. When you detect a tumor that early, you don’t have to do any aggressive treatment or radiation or chemotherapy. Unfortunately with the mammogram, a lot of tumors are missed and they are detected when they are at least 1cm, so you have to do all that aggressive treatment.
Do I still need a mammogram if I’m doing this?
Yes. It is not a replacement. I recommend it in conjunction because the mammogram is important for calcifications and the SonoCiné is important to detect the tumors that are missed in dense breast tissue.
If someone is getting a mammogram once per year, how often should I get the SonoCiné exam?
Once per year as long as the results are normal. I recommend starting at age 25, but if you don’t want to do that you can start at 30 or 35 and throw it in every couple of years.
Do I need to have already had a mammogram to get the SonoCiné?
No prior mammogram is required, no referral, just call us and book an appointment.
Does insurance cover the SonoCiné exam?
We don’t accept insurance, but we do provide a superbill for the patient to submit for reimbursement from their insurance company.
If I’ve had breast cancer already and a double mastectomy, should I do this test in addition to the MRI my doctor prescribes for my yearly monitoring?
The SonoCiné is most helpful in detecting tumors and lymph node involvement, which can still recur after a double mastectomy (although the probability is low). So yes, I would recommend the whole breast ultrasound in this case for yearly monitoring. The patient should of course do what they feel comfortable with.
Jasmine’s Top 3 Tips for Breast Cancer Prevention:
- Get screened! Women should start getting your first scan at age 25-30.
- Keep your stress levels LOW. Do whatever you need to do to keep your stress levels low: running, exercise, meditation, etc.
- Check your family history.
5 Key Facts About the SonoCiné Technology:
- Whole breast ultrasound that also covers your lymph nodes — no squishing!
- Takes 3k pictures per exam
- Early detection — can detect breast cancer as small as 3MM
- Delivers NO radiation
- Complimentary to mammogram; recommended to get screened annually
For more information, or to book an appointment, visit SonoBreasts.com.