• Frequently Asked Questions

    Frequently Asked Questions

Don’t see the answer to your question here? Please contact us, and we’ll be happy to help!

Questions About our Office:
Is ABUS Covered by OHIP?
What is the Cost for ABUS?
How Do I Make an Appointment?
Can Appointments be Accommodated on Weekends?
Do I Need a Referral from my Doctor to Book an Appointment?
What Is the Appointment Cancellation or Change Policy?

Questions About Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS):
Who Performs the Scan?
How Long Does it Take to Get the Results?
Who Gets a Copy of My ABUS Report?
What Happens if the Radiologist Finds Something?
Is ABUS Used to Diagnose Breast Cancer?
What Do I Wear in Preparation for the Screening?
Can You Tell Me a Little More About What to Expect?
Is the ABUS process Painful or Stressful?
Why Would I Need ABUS If I’ve Already Had a Mammogram?
What Are Dense Breasts?
How Can I Maintain or Improve My Breast Health?
What’s Different About Mammography Versus ABUS?
What’s Different About Mammography Versus ABUS?
What’s Different About 2D Hand-Held Breast Ultrasound Versus 3D ABUS?
What’s Different About Thermography Versus ABUS?
Can ABUS Be Done After Breast Reduction/Implants/Augmentation?
 Is ABUS Only Necessary for Women?

Q:  Is ABUS Covered By OHIP?
ABUS is not currently covered under OHIP or provincial health insurance, but may be partially or fully covered by private or extended health insurance depending on a customer’s specific plan which may require a doctor’s referral in some cases. Some employees may also have self-directed health spending accounts, which more often covers the cost of medical imaging services like ABUS. Please check with your insurance provider before booking an appointment. ABUS may also be claimed as a deduction on your personal income tax return as with other healthcare expenses, particularly when requisitioned by a licensed healthcare provider.

Q:  What is the Cost for ABUS?

The total cost for a 3D bi-lateral automated breast scan (ABUS) is $395.  This fee primarily covers the direct cost of image acquisition by a licensed sonographer, the 3D image interpretation and reporting by a licensed and experienced reading radiologist, as well as the capital costs of the ABUS device and facility overhead.

Q: How Do I Make an Appointment?

Simply call 1-800-860-4690, Monday through Friday, 9:00 am – 6:00 pm to speak with one of our receptionists. Currently, there is little or no waiting time for an appointment.  Booking your ABUS scan is as easy as calling our imaging clinic and arranging a convenient day and time. When you call to book a scan, your credit card number will be requested and securely kept on file to reserve your appointment with the Sonographer.

Q:  Can Appointments be Accommodated during Evenings or Weekends?
ABUS scan appointments can be accommodated from 9 am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday excluding statutory holidays with wednesdays being the most available timeframe. For individuals with work constraints or travelling from a distance, the ABUS imaging clinic is occasionally available for evening and weekend appointments. Please allow sufficient time for the receptionist to help accommodate an appointment outside of regular office hours.

Q:  Do I Need A Referral from my Doctor to Book an Appointment?

A doctor’s referral is not required for an ABUS scan. You are welcome to call our receptionist directly to make an appointment. We can also help facilitate patient appointment bookings for referring primary healthcare providers, especially in cases where scheduling is a priority.

Q:  What is the Appointment Change or Cancellation Policy?
Please provide 48 hours notification for cancellation or changes to your appointment. Weather permitting, individuals cancelling their appointment within 48 hours or accidentally missing their appointment will be charged an administrative fee of $75. To minimize appointment scheduling oversights, you will be emailed a courtesy reminder notice three days prior to your scheduled appointment time. Thank you for respecting our time.

Q:  Who Performs the Scan and Reports on Findings?
An ABUS-certified and licensed female sonographer will carry out the ABUS scanning procedure but is not qualified to read or interpret your 3D ultrasound images.  A qualified reading radiologist will complete the interpretation and report of findings for you.

Q:  How Long Does It Take To Get the Results?
Once the image acquisition process is completed by the sonographer, your imaging data is securely transmited via the internet to the reading Radiologist who interprets your 3D images and writes their report of findings.  The ABUS report turnaround time is typically 7-10 business days.

Q:  Who Gets a Copy of My ABUS Report?
A copy of your ABUS report will be securely forwarded to both you and your designated family doctor whose contact information is required on your intake form.  Additional primary healthcare provider(s) can also be forwarded copies of your ABUS report if requested. Depending on your results, you and your medical doctor may be advised by the Radiologist to follow-up with further diagnostics in the overall evaluation of your breast health.

Q:  What Happens if the Radiologist Finds Something Suspicious?

Regardless of whether the reading Radiologist finds something suspicious, you will still need to review the results of your ABUS report with a medical doctor in a timely manner for clarification of the findings and requisitioning of further diagnostic evaluation if recommended.

Q: Is ABUS Used to Diagnose Breast Cancer?
ABUS is Health Canada approved for breast cancer screening as an adjunct to mammography and not for diagnostic imaging purposes. Although mammographic and handheld ultrasound spot views can help with the diagnostic process, tissue biopsy and accompanying histological evaluation is the only definitive method for diagnosing breast cancer. ABUS is simply used as an early and accurate step in the screening process. Should something of serious concern be identified by the ABUS radiologist, you will be directed by your medical doctor for followup mammography, handheld ultrasound and/or MRI for further diagnostic evaluation.

Q:  Is There Any Special Preparation for the Screening?
Unlike other breast screening modalities such as mammography, there is no preparation requirement for automated breast ultrasound.  Please note that you will be disrobing from the waist up for the scan and putting on a disposable paper examination top. Please avoid wearing perfumes or scented lotions to respect the sensitivities of staff and other patients.

Q:  Can You Tell Me a Little More About What to Expect?

When you arrive ideally 15 minutes before your appointment time, you will be welcomed by the receptionist who will request that you complete both consent and intake forms, just like when you visit other clinics for the first time. You will be welcomed by the sonographer and comfortably positioned on the exam table before reviewing how the ultrasound will be performed. The total scanning process takes approximately 30 minutes. The sonographer will attach a disposable membrane to the ultrasound scanner and apply a hypoallergenic coupling lotion to your breasts – similar to what happens with other types of ultrasound. The scanner is placed sequentially in three different positions on each breast and gentle compression is applied. Three separate 3D images are generated for each breast from approximately 300 image slices per scan, totaling about 900 image slices per breast. These 3D images are then securely transmitted over the internet to the licensed radiologist for review and interpretation.

Q:  Is the ABUS Process Painful or Stressful?

You will be pleasantly surprised to find that ABUS imaging is actually gentle and quite comfortable involving momentary mild compression at three different positions on each breast as the images are acquired.  We recognize that the breast cancer screening process can be very stressful especially in cases with abnormal findings.  For this reason, it is imperative that you consult your primary healthcare care provider who can review your ABUS report with you, promptly answer all of your questions and uncertainties, and requisition the followup diagnostic imaging that will be required for further information.

Q:  Why Would I Need ABUS If I’ve Already Had a Mammogram?
A women’s main defense against breast cancer is early detection.  Screening mammography, including the latest digital technology, has known limitations in women with dense breast tissue and these women have a higher risk of breast cancer.  For women with dense breasts, mammographic results can often be inconclusive, leaving the patient with unnecessary concerns.  ABUS is not a replacement for mammography, however clinical evidence has demonstrated that for women with dense breasts, supplementing mammograms with ABUS can substantially increase breast cancer detection rates, which is especially important given the fact that up to 40% of Caucasian women and 70% of Asian women have dense breasts.

Q:  What Are Dense Breasts?

Dense breast tissue is comprised of less fat and more connective or fibroglandular tissue which appears white on a mammogram. Cancer also appears white on a mammogram and therefore tumours are often hidden amongst the dense tissue, especially in earlier stages. Currently, breast density can only be measured by mammography. For those who have already had a mammogram(s), request a copy of your report from your doctor and consult with them on information about your breast density. If you haven’t had a mammogram and you suspect that you have dense breasts, ABUS is an important consideration due to its accessibility and effectiveness in breast cancer screening. You should also be asking other women in your family about their breast density. To learn more about dense breasts, visit www.areyoudense.org

Q: How Can I Maintain or Improve My Breast Health?
There are many things women can simply and easily incorporate into their lifestyles to preventatively optimize their breast health.  PreView collaborates with numerous conventional and integrative practitioners to help you address your breast health proactively including progressive family physicians, nurse practitioners, naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists, yoga instructors, dieticians, nutritional consultants, pharmacies, health food stores, health-conscious grocers and restaurants, as well as mind/body counsellors and facilitators, etc.  Please checkout the links page for a list of affiliated practitioners who are accessible for your breast health needs.  In particular, Preview Breast Screening collaborates with the Mammalive Foundation for Women’s Health and Education to provide women with the most comprehensive educational resources on preventative lifestyle strategies and evidence-based integrative therapies for improving breast health.  To find out more information, please visit: www.mammalive.net.

Q:  What’s Different About Mammography Versus ABUS?

A mammogram is an x-ray of the breast which is considered the standard for differentiating micro-calcified breast lesions, especially for women without dense breast tissue, however it does expose a woman to radiation each time she undergoes this procedure, which cumulatively, is considered a risk factor for breast cancer. ABUS safely uses sound waves to obtain highly specific images of the entire breast without exposure to radiation.  In terms of imaging specificity, ABUS is similar to mammography but has higher specificity in dense-breasted women. It is especially safe for women who are pregnant or lactating and for sensitive women who are post-operative, have breast implants or scarred breast tissue.  It’s also as gentle as a pregnancy ultrasound without the mechanical compression of mammography which is very painful for many women.  ABUS collects a volume of imaging data similar to that of a CT scan or MRI.  Please be reminded that ABUS is Health Canada approved for breast cancer screening as an adjunct to mammography.

Q:  What’s Different About 2D Hand-Held Breast Ultrasound Versus 3D ABUS?

Quite simply, ABUS is approved as a screening technology in Canada and hand-held ultrasound is approved for diagnostic followup involving magnification of specific areas of concerns identified in the screening process. ABUS’s larger automated probe is unique in that it captures hundreds of image slices of the entire breast area which are accurately rendered into 3D high resolution triangulated images revealing volumetric detail of complex breast tissue and structure.  Another advantage of the larger automated breast ultrasound probe, is that it minimizes operator variability and chances of human error which is often a consideration with traditional handheld ultrasound. By comparison, much smaller hand-held ultrasound probes are designed for closer evaluation of localized areas of concern following screening mammography or ABUS. 

Q:  What’s Different About Thermography Versus ABUS?
Breast Thermography is not approved for breast cancer screening in Canada due to several limitations, and consequently is not considered part of a medically managed breast cancer screening program for women.  Individuals who rely on this technology at the exclusion of other approved screening methods are considered to be underserved for early detection. Breast thermography can provide functional information about abnormal thermal and vascular changes from increased metabolic activity, but unlike ABUS, it’s not specific enough for early detection and differentiation of benign structural abnormalities including cysts and fibroadenomas, and potentially cancerous lesions or infections. Some integrative healthcare practitioners continue to support breast thermography  when used in accordance with correct guidelines and technical standards, however many are now recommending ABUS to their patients as a Health Canada approved screening method, because of its safety and comfort attributes and its technical accuracy at localizing, characterizing and sizing earlier and smaller benign or suspicious breast lesions, especially in dense breast tissue.

Q:  Can ABUS Be Done After Breast Reduction/Implants/Augmentation?
Women are pleased to learn that ABUS offers a comfortable and accurate breast screening experience for those with implants, post-operative or scarred breast tissue.

Q:  Is ABUS Only Necessary for Women?

Men have breast tissue just like women and can develop breast cancer.  In Canada, less than 1% of all breast cancers occur in men most commonly over the age of 60, but can be found in men of all ages.  Preview Breast Screening encourages everyone to undergo breast cancer screening regardless of age or medical history.