Can Ultrasounds without a Mammogram Detect Breast Cancer?
Ultrasounds are specialized, noninvasive imaging tests that use high-frequency sound waves to create images. A breast ultrasound is often used as a way to determine whether or not a questionable spot detected by a mammogram is a cyst or some other solid lump. But can ultrasounds without a mammogram detect breast cancer? The answer is no. Breast ultrasounds are not used as a screening tool for breast cancer; instead, they are used to complement other testing and to help rule out potential breast cancer with their specific form of imaging.
What Can a Breast Ultrasound Detect?
Breast ultrasounds create images of the breast without the use of any radiation. The procedure is particularly useful for determining the consistency of a lump. Cysts are benign, fluid-filled lumps that appear as questionable areas on the mammogram. During an ultrasound, the imaging allows the technician to determine if the lump is filled with fluid, and therefore is a benign cyst, or if it is a hard lump, which could either be a fibroadenoma or cancer).
When Is It Necessary to Have a Breast Ultrasound?
Your physician may request a breast ultrasound if a mass is found on a mammogram or if a lump can be felt through the skin. Ultrasounds are more commonly required in younger women whose breast tissue is still dense. Milk glands can look like tumors on mammograms, but it is most often just precautionary to order the ultrasound. Older women tend to have fattier breast tissue, and ultrasounds are not needed as often.
Is Breast Ultrasound Painful?
While you might experience slight pressure or be required to lay in an awkward position during the procedure, an ultrasound is not painful, and it can be a necessary diagnostic tool.
For most women, a mammogram is the recommended course of action for early breast cancer detection. Every woman should get a mammogram on an annual basis beginning at age 40. For women with a history of breast cancer, that age maybe even younger. Some women may also need to have an ultrasound breast screening, but an ultrasound should not replace a mammogram.
Whether you and your physician decide you need to have a mammogram, an ultrasound, or both, visit PURE Mammography in the Smith Haven Mall today, no appointment necessary. You can also call 631-652-3424 or fill out the form on this page to pre-schedule an appointment or to learn more about PURE.