While a mammogram is still the standard for breast cancer diagnosis, a screening breast ultrasound may be used in certain circumstances, either alone or in combination with a mammogram. Read on to learn more about when a screening breast ultrasound may be necessary and what you can expect when you undergo this procedure.
What Can I Expect During This Procedure?
An ultrasound, which you may have already experienced if you’ve ever been pregnant, is a quick and painless procedure. The technician will lubricate your skin with ultrasound gel before moving a microphone like instrument (called a transducer) on the breast tissue. The transducer emits sound waves that bounce off the tissue and produces images of the inside of the area on an attached screen. Our doctors use these images to diagnose potential breast masses and other issues. The test usually takes about 30 minutes to complete.
When Do I Need a Screening Ultrasound?
Most often, a screening breast ultrasound is ordered after abnormal findings are detected on a mammogram. This imaging test can help distinguish cysts or fatty deposits that are benign from masses that may need biopsy (an invasive procedure) in order to determine whether they are cancerous. In addition, while screening ultrasound may produce false positives and false negatives when used alone, it is often used in combination with a mammogram in women who have very dense breast tissue or who have silicone breast implants, as well as for those who are considered at high risk for developing breast cancer.
If you already have a cyst, you may need regular ultrasounds to ensure that it doesn’t grow or spread. If you’re experiencing strange symptoms in your breast, such as swelling or redness, your doctor may order an ultrasound to diagnose the cause. This modality is also sometimes used in combination with other procedures; for example, to guide the needle into a mass if you’re having a biopsy done.
When Do I Need Breast Cancer Screening?
Most experts recommend that women begin to have yearly mammograms starting at age 40. If you are at high risk for breast cancer, however, you may need to begin screening sooner. Our doctors can consult with you to recommend the frequency of screening as well as the type of screening test that works best for you. In addition to mammogram and ultrasound, doctors sometimes request a breast MRI.
Schedule Your Consultation
At Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center, it is our mission to save lives from the disease of breast cancer. As such, we offer a number of different services for prevention, early detection, and treatment of breast cancer. Our medical team will work with you to determine the most effective treatment plan for you and your needs. Contact Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center today to schedule your consultation and we can answer any questions you may have.