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Ultrasound for Cancer

Ultrasound is a safe and effective medical procedure to monitor various internal body complications. Although it’s commonly used to monitor foetal development in mothers, doctors use it to treat various other ailments and diseases. Ultrasound is also used to treat cancer or tumours in concerned patients. But how can ultrasound for cancer?

Medical professionals use ultrasound to search for tumours in various body parts difficult to detect with other radiation types, such as x-rays.

With that said, it’s equally important to know what to expect from an ultrasound procedure. So, let us discuss that in detail below.

What does Ultrasound Show?

Ultrasounds emit high-frequency sound waves that travel through the body to produce images known as sonograms. Echoes are produced when sound waves bounce off the tissues and organs. 

The transducer converts these echoes into live images displaying the blood vessels’ structure, movement, and flow.

Some soft tissue diseases that are difficult to see on x-rays can be captured very well with ultrasound. Solid tumours and cysts are distinguished from one another using ultrasound as they produce very different echo patterns. However, ultrasound cannot detect everything and has some obvious limitations.

Images from CT or MRI scans are more detailed than those from ultrasound. Ultrasounds cannot determine a tumour’s cancer status. Their application is also restricted in some areas of the body as sound waves cannot pass through bone and air.

To perform a biopsy, doctors frequently use ultrasound as a guide (taking out fluid or small pieces of tissue to look at with a microscope). While moving the needle, the doctor monitors the ultrasound screen to see how the needle is moving toward and into the tumour.

In some ultrasound procedures, the transducer is moved and pressed against the skin surface for sound waves to penetrate the skin. In other instances, the physician must insert a transducer into a body opening, such as the rectum, vagina, or oesophagus (food pipe), to obtain the accurate images.

Doppler flow machines are specialised ultrasound devices that can display the speed and direction of blood flow through vessels. Moreover, these machines are beneficial as blood flow in tumours differs from that in healthy tissue, making them a suitable option for cancer detection.

Some of these machines also produce colour images. Specifically, Doppler machines have simplified the determination of cancer and tumour. With that said, let’s discuss how ultrasound works in detail below.

How does Ultrasound Work?

A control panel, a display screen, and a transducer—typically resembling a microphone or a computer mouse—are the three main components of an ultrasound machine. Transducers transmit sound waves to identify the echoes from the concerned body parts. Then, the transducer is moved over an area studied by the doctor or ultrasound technician. 

The monitor analyses the signals and displays an image on the screen. The entire process depends on tissue density, affecting the echo shape. For instance, most sound waves pass through a cyst filled with fluid, while only a few return, producing a black image on the screen.

However, the waves are deflected with a significant tumour to produce an echo pattern displayed on the monitor as lighter-colored images. Now that we know how ultrasound works let’s look at what to expect from an ultrasound, described in detail below.

How do I get Ready for an Ultrasound?

Any preparations you must take before your test is explained to you by your doctor. You might need to abstain from eating before or after the procedure, take a laxative, or administer an enema, depending on the organ being studied.

You may also need to drink a lot of water before your abdominal (belly) ultrasound to fill your bladder. Sound waves travel well through the fluid to produce a better image. With that said, let’s look at how long an ultrasound procedure takes below.

How long does an Ultrasound Take?

Typically, an ultrasound lasts 20 to 30 minutes. The time required will vary depending on the type of procedure and severity of cancer or tumour in patients. It’s also important for patients to know the complications with ultrasound procedures mentioned below.

What are the possible complications of an ultrasound?

Generally, ultrasound is a safe procedure and carries a low risk of complications.

What else should I know about ultrasound?

  • Ultrasound is a safe medical procedure involving minimal risks.
  • Ultrasound is typically much less expensive compared to other imaging tests.
  • The technologist or physician using the transducer must be skilled enough to obtain high-quality results.
  • Obese people are difficult to capture in a positive light.
  • Modern ultrasound technologies can produce 3-D images.

Why choose CDN?

If you are looking for an ultrasound procedure for cancer, consider the Canadian Diagnostic Network for the best medical assistance. At Canadian Diagnostic Network, we provide excellent services with a patient-centric approach. Feel free to call, email, or chat with our team members.

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