Breast Ultrasound

Breast Ultrasound: Should It Replace My Annual Mammogram?

December 27, 2018

Breast cancer is a condition wherein there is cancer in the breast cells. It is the most commonly diagnosed condition in the US although there are instances that even men can get this ailment.

You will know that you have this condition when there is a lump in your breast. This part may have changes in its shape and size. These are possible when your breast cells grow abnormally. The cells rapidly develop forming a lump. There are also instances wherein the cells go to your lymph nodes and the other parts of your body.

But how can you confirm that you have breast cancer? You can take several tests including a mammogram. However, some say that a breast ultrasound gives more reliable results. Which between the two should you try? Find out.

Mammogram

It is a screening tool that has been used since the 1960s. It is a type of x-ray which focuses on your breasts. The main objective of this tool is to find if there is a possible chance of having breast cancer and getting a cure as early as possible.

Mammogram compresses the breasts to have two images: one horizontal and one vertical. This is done to:

  • Get high-quality image result for better diagnostic
  • Immobilize your breast
  • To spread and flatten the breast tissue

Both images are analyzed by two experts in the field. This is because specialists recommend that two radiologists analyze for a better diagnostic. If the two readings still seem uncertain, the doctor might recommend that you have further tests.

The main reason you should prefer to have a mammogram is that it can detect microcalcifications which are early signs of breast cancer. Another is because when you are able to detect breast cancer in its early stage, there is a huge possibility for you to cure it.

However, there are also instances wherein the mammogram fails to detect some cancers. This is because some women have dense breasts. With this, mammogram has 90% chance to detect if you have breast cancer.

Breast Ultrasound

An ultrasound is usually advised when the results of your previous diagnostics are not clear. This tool uses high-speed sound waves in order to check all the tissues inside of your body. Unlike a mammogram, it does not have an x-ray which is great for pregnant women.

In this test, a hand-held probe is used. The examination will take about 10 to 30 minutes. There are a lot of reasons you should prefer this exam, including the following:

  • Checks if the lump in your breast are solid or filled with liquid
  • Check the breast symptoms such as breast pain, lump, and swelling
  • Adds information from your previous exams
  • Guides the needles used for other medical procedures

However, it cannot detect microcalcifications that you can get when you take mammogram. On a brighter note, breast ultrasound can give you more information on your condition.

Which is Better?

Both exams have their strengths and weaknesses. A mammogram is an x-ray which can detect the early signs of breast cancer. With this, you can have the condition treated even before it gets worse. On the contrary, an ultrasound uses special waves to detect if you have indeed breast cancer. It is usually recommended as it can give you additional information about your condition.

Another point that you should take note is that mammogram is more expensive than ultrasound. Some even prefer ultrasound because it is portable and more convenient. But that does not mean that mammogram is not effective. In fact, mammogram has proven its accurate results over the years. Some studies have proven that it is the most recommended screening test if you have breast cancer.

However, these diagnostics have their flaws and even limits as well. There can be instances when the mammogram cannot detect the condition, especially when the breasts are dense. Meanwhile, an ultrasound cannot find microcalcifications which are the early signs of breast cancer.

The good news is, you can take the two tests if you want to have a reliable result. You can first have a mammogram to see if you have the first symptoms of breast cancer. Afterward, you can have an ultrasound for further examination. So instead of choosing one, it is best that you have both. This way, you have a lot of opinions first before you have a treatment.

Conclusion

Breast cancer is a condition that anyone can have, but mostly females. There are a lot of causes for this condition including hereditary, radiation exposure, and obesity. One way to know if you have this ailment is by checking the symptoms such as lumps and changing the size of your breast.

If you see the early signs of breast cancer, then you should have a diagnostic. There are a lot of exams that you can have a breast exam or MRI. But among the many screenings available for this condition, the most recommended are mammogram and ultrasound. These can provide you with results that can help give you treatment, even in the early parts of the ailment.

Some might recommend that you have a mammogram while others might convince you to have an ultrasound. You can pick any of the two and still get the results that you need. But if you want to have a second opinion, it is better than you have both exams.

In addition, there are a lot of ways for you to prevent having this cancer. You can lessen or avoid drinking alcohol. You can also exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Take note that you should ask your doctor first about the exercises that you can do especially when you are not active.

Another way is by having a healthy diet. You can do this by eating healthy foods and have a proper diet. But just like exercising, be sure that you consult with your doctor first before lessening your food intake. You do not want to surprise your body and get unexpected side effects.