Breast cancer on ultrasound: Useful facts and benefits 2021
Breast cancer on ultrasound
Ultrasound is a diagnostic procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to visualize internal structures. In the case of breast examination of the female, breast cancer on ultrasound helps the doctor in detecting abnormalities or lumps within the breast. An ultrasound examination of the breast is mostly carried after the detection of a breast lump during a physical examination or a mammograph. The high-frequency sound waves used in medical ultrasound devices are non-invasive and safe to use on human binges. Unlike MRI or a CT scan, this diagnostic procedure does not require special preparations before the examination.
Why is breast ultrasound imaging necessary?
Certain structures within the breast are easily visible with this non-invasive and painless procedure. Ultrasonography of the breast is normally conducted after mammography when your doctor suspects an abnormality found during a physical examination or mammography. It should be understood that breast cancer on ultrasound can be seen but are only confirmed after a biopsy. In this procedure, breast tissue is taken and examined to confirm the presence of breast cancer.
During an ultrasound examination, sound waves are sent through a wand-like probe that bounces off the breast tissue, visualizing the breast tissue in real-time. Any abnormal structure present is quickly identified by your doctor. Even blood flow in the vessels can be examined to determine related problems. Other reasons why such an examination is recommended include:
- Having an abnormally thick breast tissue which is poorly visualized in a mammograph.
- Safe to use during pregnancy, as mammography and other diagnostic procedures use radiation for the examination that might result in harming the fetus.
- Women younger than 25 are always recommended ultrasound because it has no adverse effects.
How exactly does an ultrasound help?
As we mentioned earlier, breast cancer on ultrasound can be detected but is only confirmed after a biopsy is performed. Yet, here are some common uses that help doctors diagnose the problem effectively:
- Detecting a breast abnormality: In a breast physical examination or mammography, if your healthcare provider suspects of a lump or mass, further ultrasound examination is conducted to know whether the lump is a solid mass, a fluid-filled cyst, or both.
- Breast cancer screening: The mammography procedure is commonly used to detect breast cancer early on. Despite mammography helping detect breast cancer, sometimes this technique fails to detect anything at all. Under such circumstances, ultrasound is to be considered as the diagnostic method, followed by a biopsy.
- Ultrasound-guided biopsy: After the detection of breast cancer on ultrasound, a biopsy guided by the ultrasound device could be conducted by your doctor to further determine whether the abnormalities noted in the ultrasound examination are related to cancer or not.
How is a breast ultrasound examination conducted?
A radiologist is a specialist doctor on diagnostic procedures and typically conducts the procedure. After positioning you on the examination table, the radiologist will apply a gel onto the area that is to be investigated. The gel acts as a facilitator for sound waves that travel within the body and bounce back, producing pictures that can be captured as evidence. This procedure is painless, tolerable, and finishes in about 30 minutes.
Benefits of an ultrasound examination:
The benefits of this diagnostic procedure outweigh the risks. Here are the benefits enlisted below:
- Ultrasound is a technique that is not as expensive as other methods like MRI or CT scan and has an easy to use method of operation.
- The procedure is not painful but could become uncomfortable just temporarily.
- The type of waves used are not harmful and help map out structures that are difficult to see in a mammograph.
- In some cases, the breast skin turns thick and causes difficulty in the examination. Breast cancer on ultrasound is effectively diagnosed under such circumstances.
Ultrasonography is an effective diagnostic tool that helps detect breast abnormalities. Breast cancer on ultrasound might be visible in most cases. However, there are instances when breast cancer symptoms are present, but a tumor is undetectable. Your healthcare provider may advise you of further examinations like a CT or an MRI scan to help identify tumors that are untraceable during an ultrasound examination.
We hope you found this article on Breast cancer on ultrasound helpful. You may be also interested in Breast cancer risk factors.
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