Mammogram is an X-ray observation of the breast. The main reason for this examination X-ray is to detect breast disease in women who have breast problems like; pain, lump, or discharging nipples and also for those women who don’t have any complaints regarding breasts. In simple words, a mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast. This type of mammogram is called a screening mammogram, and it generally involves only two or more X-ray images of each breast. For some women, mammograms can be painful or uncomfortable, but the process is short. In mammography, usually each breast is imaged with two different views namely; the mediolateral oblique (MLO) view and the cranial caudal (CC) view.
Breast ultrasound provides internal pictures of your breasts. That’s why this test can give you more information about the breasts in the smallest areas even than that of a mammogram procedure.
Mostly, an ultrasound of a breast is performed to find out that a problem found by a mammogram may be a cyst within a fluid in it.
Main Reason for an Ultrasound
The doctor wants to do an ultrasound because, cancer can be hiddenly present in dense tissue, which can not be detected through a mammogram procedure. Only on an ultrasound, the doctor can see what they cannot see on a mammogram. So if somebody is having some issues with their breast, both an ultrasound and a mammogram can help to diagnose the issue. For the health care of all women, breast cancer screening is an essential part to be done. Advancements in medical imaging have revolutionized breast cancer detection and diagnosis, providing women with more accurate and reliable methods for early detection.
Mammography has long been the gold standard for breast cancer screening, enabling the identification of abnormalities long before they can be felt or cause noticeable symptoms. However, in certain cases, a mammogram might be followed by an ultrasound to provide a more comprehensive assessment. This article delves into the reasons why an ultrasound might be recommended after a mammogram and its significance in enhancing breast cancer detection. Mostly, healthcare providers recommend an ultrasound to detect suspicious areas seen on a mammogram.
1. Supplementing Mammography:
Mammography, which uses low-dose X-rays to create detailed images of the breast tissue, remains the primary tool for detecting breast abnormalities, especially in women aged 40 and above. Supplementing mammography is taken to solve specific problems during diagnosis. However, it has limitations, particularly in cases involving dense breast tissue. Dense breasts have higher amounts of glandular and fibrous tissue, making it more challenging to distinguish between normal tissue and potential abnormalities, such as tumors, on a mammogram.
2. Enhancing Diagnostic Accuracy:
An ultrasound can significantly enhance diagnostic accuracy in cases where mammography results are indecisive due to breast density or other reasons. Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create real-time images of the breast tissue, providing a clearer picture of the inside of the breasts. It can show some breast changes like fluid-filled cysts, that are not possible to see on mammograms. Ultrasound can help differentiate between solid masses, which may be cancerous, and fluid-filled cysts, which are typically harmless. Moreover, ultrasound can provide insights into the shape and characteristics of any detected masses, aiding in determining their potential malignancy.
3. Screening Younger Women and High-Risk Patients:
In younger women, breast tissue tends to be denser, so it limits the effectiveness of mammography. Additionally, for women at a higher risk of developing breast cancer due to family history or genetic factors, the combination of mammography and ultrasound can be particularly valuable. These groups of individuals often have a greater likelihood of developing aggressive tumors that might not be as easily detected through mammography alone.
4. Assessing Visible Lumps:
In cases where a woman or her healthcare provider detects a lump during a physical examination, an ultrasound can offer a more detailed view of the lump’s features. This information can guide the following steps, such as deciding whether a biopsy is necessary or if the lump is more likely to be harmless.
5. Observing Doubtful Findings:
If a mammogram reveals a possibly concerning finding, an ultrasound might be used for further evaluation or to monitor changes over time. Ultrasound’s real-time imaging capabilities can provide insights into whether the detected mass has changed in appearance or size, helping healthcare professionals make appropriate decisions about whether additional tests are required or not.
While mammography remains a cornerstone of breast cancer screening, the addition of ultrasound can significantly increase its effectiveness, especially in cases involving dense breast tissue or high-risk patients. The ability of ultrasound to provide real-time, detailed images of breast tissue helps in a more accurate examination of potential flaws. By this blend of imaging techniques, healthcare providers can make timely and accurate diagnoses, finally contributing to early detection and improved treatment outcomes for breast cancer.
Women should consult their healthcare providers to determine the most suitable screening approach based on their risk factors. Women can take care of their lives by early detection of cancer and other diseases related to the breasts, by going through an x-ray named Mammography.