SoftVue breast ultrasound system, now available at Karmanos Cancer Institute

‘It’s very comfortable, and it took about 10 minutes, about two to three minutes on each side, and I was done so, quick, easy, and painless’

SoftVue breast ultrasound system now available at Karmanos Cancer Institute.

For 40% of women with dense breast tissue, their annual mammogram isn’t enough to detect early breast cancer. But now, a new technology called SoftVue may improve early detection, and the Karmanos Cancer Institute had its first patient undergo the new imaging Thursday.

The new SoftVue ultrasound device is not a substitute for traditional mammography. It can be used with a mammogram to provide additional information and detail that is difficult to see in women with dense breasts.

It has been in development by a local company for over a decade, and on Thursday (Oct. 13), it had its clinical debut.

“In the late 80′s early 90′s, I had two breast or nipple tumors,” said Cheryl Schiebold.

Schiebold has been diligent about getting annual mammograms ever since, but several years ago, she was notified that she had dense breast tissue in a letter.

“Suggesting shortly thereafter that I always arrange to have the 3D along with the handheld ultrasound,” Schiebold said.

“Dense breast tissue means that a large portion of the breast on a screening mammogram is white,” said Dr. Natasha Robinette. “Cancers on mammograms show up as white, so in a huge background of a white breast, a dense breast, you could miss a cancer.

Robinette is the clinical service chief of imaging at the Karmanos Cancer Institute. She was excited to have their first Softvue patient Thursday.

“Softvue has this wonderful model with color imaging that here is showing the cancer,” Robinette said. “This view of the breast, in particular, is relatively easy on the patient. There’s no compression, no pain, no radiation, and it’s relatively quick.”

“It’s very comfortable, and it took about 10 minutes, about two to three minutes on each side, and I was done so, quick, easy, and painless,” Schiebold said.

Karmanos is the only facility with the new SoftVue machine. The company told Local 4 that most insurances cover imaging, but some women may have a co-pay.

Click here if you are interested in getting it along with your annual mammogram.

About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.