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10/24/2019
Breast Ultrasound and How It Is Used To Fight Against Breast Cancer

Along with medical ultrasound awareness month, October celebrates breast cancer awareness month to bring to light the importance of women’s health, research, and advancements in the field to cure and detect breast cancer.

Did you know that along with a mammogram, breast ultrasound is used to produce pictures of the internal structures of the breast? Ultrasound is primarily used to help diagnose breast lumps or other abnormalities that may have been found during a physical exam, mammogram or breast MRI. Ultrasound is a safe and painless alternative for those who cannot be exposed to radiation.


Common Uses of Breast Ultrasound:

Determining the Nature of a Breast Abnormality

The primary use of breast ultrasound is to help diagnose breast abnormalities, such as a lump, and to characterize potential abnormalities were seen in a mammogram or breast MRI. Ultrasound imaging can help to determine if an abnormality is:

  • ·  solid, which may be a non-cancerous lump of tissue or a cancerous tumor,
  • ·  fluid-filled, such as a benign cyst,
  • ·  or both cystic and solid.

In addition, Doppler ultrasound is used to assess the blood supply in breast lesions which can help determine the cause of the mass.

Supplemental Breast Cancer Screening

Mammography is the only screening tool for breast cancer that is confirmed to reduce deaths caused by breast cancer through early detection. However, mammograms do not detect all breast cancers. Some breast lesions and abnormalities are not visible or are difficult to interpret on mammograms. Breasts that are considered dense can make cancer harder to detect through typical breast exams. Many studies have shown that ultrasound and MRI can help supplement mammography by detecting breast cancers that may not be visible with mammography. Ultrasound can be offered as a screening tool for women who:

  • ·  Are at high risk for breast cancer and unable to undergo an MRI examination,
  • ·  are pregnant or should not be exposed to x-rays, which are necessary for a mammogram,
  • ·  have increased breast density — when the breasts have a lot of glandular and connective tissue and not much fatty tissue.

Ultrasound-guided Breast Biopsy

When an ultrasound examination reveals a suspicious breast abnormality, an ultrasound-guided biopsy can become an option to learn more about the abnormality. An ultrasound-guided breast biopsy uses sound waves to help locate a lump or abnormality and remove a small tissue sample for examination under a microscope. With the help of ultrasound, this method of biopsy is less invasive than surgical biopsy, leaves little to no scarring, and does not involve exposure to ionizing radiation which can be harmful to some patients.

As ultrasound technology continues to evolve, it is quickly becoming a safe, radiation-free alternative to help detect and diagnose life-threatening diseases. Sonography is a broad profession containing many sub-disciplines, such as musculoskeletal sonography, breast sonography, echocardiography (adult & pediatric), vascular, neurosonology, abdominal, obstetrics & gynecology, and more.

Are you interested in pursuing a career in sonography? WCUI is now enrolling for a 2020 start in Bachelor of Science and Associate of Science degree programs in diagnostic medical sonography and cardiovascular sonography. Give us a call at (888)315-4993 or email admissions@wcui.edu and connect with us today!




Article sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/breast-ultrasound

https://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=breastbius




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