New breast imaging system comes to Scottsdale

The latest QTbreasthealth center is now open within Vincere Cancer Center, located in northern Scottsdale. The center includes a radiation-free and compression-free breast imaging technology called QTscan.

QTbreasthealth has brought QTscan — a breast imaging technology free of radiation, compression and injection — to Scottsdale. 

The FDA-cleared QTscan was previously only available in two states and is now open inside Vincere Cancer Center in northern Scottsdale.

“I believe in a comprehensive, integrative, patient-centered approach for each patient I treat, including access to the most medically advanced screenings for breast health,” said Dr. Vershalee Shukla, radiation specialist and co-founder of the center. 

 “I see QTbreasthealth as the perfect complement to my practice philosophy, one that empowers my patients,” Shukla said.  

QTbreasthealth President Meg Donigan said her company chose Scottsdale as a market with a large number of women who are not only interested in their health and wellness, but are also willing to spend money on themselves and their well-being. 

“It felt like a great fit from that perspective,” Donigan said. “It’s obviously a reasonably sized market, but also one that’s very focused on health and wellness, the outdoors, taking care of yourself, a healthy lifestyle, etcetera.”

Since the first QTbreasthealth center opened in August 2018, QTbreasthealth has scheduled more than 1,000 appointments across all centers.

QTscan is not a replacement for screening mammography or a competitor against it.

Instead, QTscan is intended to provide supplemental screening to women who want more information and reassurance about their breast health.

“Mammography is still the standard of care for cancer screening in the United States. The QTscan provides additional information in terms of managing your breast health,” Donigan said.

Donigan added that about half of all women have dense breasts and may have gotten false positives with mammography or have been told they need additional imaging.

“The QTscan is an excellent follow-up imaging option because we can see through dense breasts and identify suspicious areas, which mammography may not,” she said.

According to the National Cancer Institute, women with dense breasts have a higher risk of breast cancer than women with fatty breasts.

NCI continues to state that the risk increases with increasing breast density, and this increased risk is separate from the effect of dense breasts on the ability to read a mammogram.

Donigan stressed that while women with dense breasts comprise a large part of QTbreasthealth’s target market, they’re not the sole target.

“There certainly are a large number of false positives with mammography. The bigger issue actually for women with dense breasts isn’t the false positive side. It’s the fact that mammography doesn’t see well through dense breasts. It’s more that it misses things, so QTscan come in and see more clearly through the dense breast tissue,” Donigan said.

QTbreasthealth provides its services in a patient-centric environment. 

“In many ways, the biggest value we’ve provided to women is the one-on-one contact to understand what’s going on in their breast health and what their choices and options are,” Donigan said.

The scan takes an average of eight minutes per breast, with the total time dependent on the size of the bust.

 QTbreasthealth allows one hour for every patient’s appointment so she can ask questions and understand the process.

“There’s an element of the time we spend with women, so they understand the health of their breasts,” Donigan said.

Following the appointment, patients then receive a phone call with the results in four to seven days.

“You get a phone call from QTbreasthealth, from someone who has 30-plus years of experience guiding women through their breast health,” Donigan said.

She continued: “So, not only is there a fairly quick turnaround time in terms of getting the results, the entire process is very focused on you and your understanding and your experience to make sure that you’re getting the information that the scan provides.”

A majority of patients who opt for the QTscan are in the 40 to 60 age range. 

However, Donigan said they do have younger patients, who could be at a higher risk for breast cancer but have no available FDA-cleared screening options.

The QTscan costs $600.

“That’s comprehensive. It includes the radiologist read as well as the consultation with a breast health navigator,” Donigan said, adding:

 “There isn’t currently a code for the QTscan with any insurance program ... but there is some coverage of breast ultrasound on most insurance programs.”

Earlier this year, in January, parent company QT Ultrasound announced the opening of QTbreasthealth imaging centers to provide women with a best-in-class experience built around the company’s quantitative transmission (QT) ultrasound technology.

QT Ultrasound — a privately held company engaged in the research, development and commercialization of an innovative automated breast imaging system producing high-resolution transmission ultrasound images — received more than $15 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health to continue QT Ultrasound research.

QT Ultrasound and QTbreasthealth were founded by Dr. John C. Klock, the chief executive officer, managing director and manager, who said, “Breast cancer screening is important for all women, but women who are at a higher risk of breast cancer may need to be screened earlier and more often than other women.”